As one of the most tumultuous years in American politics teeters to the finish, one final detail on the Hill looms large: the tax vote, a move to yay or nay problematic reform that — if unsuccessful — could lead to a government shutdown.
But the GOP is fairly confident of its odds — or at least that's what First Daughter and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump wants the American public to keep in mind. Appearing on Fox & Friends on Dec. 18, the young Mrs. Trump explained that the odds are in their favor. "We feel very, very confident," she cooed. "We're gonna deliver historic tax reforms and it's gonna happen before Christmas . . . This is something the people of this country want. They want simplification."
This framing of the upcoming vote as a holiday surprise isn't an Ivanka Trump original but an echo of her father — President Donald Trump — who only days earlier announced that tax cuts would be "one of the great Christmas gifts" for the middle class. Which also happened to be an echo of a November declaration, when the president said that the GOP tax plan would be "a big, beautiful Christmas present."
Semantics aside, it's not really looking like this governmental Secret Santa-ing will indeed be a blessing or a gift, as the plan will supposedly selectively benefit Americans. An analysis of the tax bill defines clear winners and losers, highlighting that it will greatly benefit millionaires, major corporations, private schools, and the Trump family itself while hurting low-income families, individual taxpayers, the elderly, and many more. The majority of Americans are displeased with the plan too, as a CBS News poll found in early December.
But regardless of how uneven and unwelcome the tax bill may be, the vote appears to be facing unique barriers toward success. First, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) will likely miss the vote due to cancer treatments. Second, Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) is likely to miss the vote due to health issues as well. Finally, a few senators continue to have wavering support, specifically Senator Bob Corker, who has concerns about tax provisions regarding real estate, while Democrats — like Senator Elizabeth Warren — suggest a push on the vote for incoming candidates like Doug Jones to take their seats.
The vote is slated to occur at some point this week but must happen before Friday, the final date government funding has been extended through. If any delays occur, if the tax plan does not pass, or if the post-tax-vote budget is not passed, the government will face a shutdown. So while gifts may be great this time of year, the notion that the tax plan is full of holiday magic is fairly inaccurate — and has many wondering if this present will come with a receipt.