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Mike Johnson

SALT revolt bubbles up as Johnson commits to tax vote

Speaker Mike Johnson intends to put the bipartisan, bicameral tax bill on the floor later this week using the fast-track suspension process.

Like everything on Capitol Hill, the plan is fluid and the decision is not final. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) has been pitching House Republicans on the plan this week. He is expected to discuss it in more detail this morning at conference.

Johnson said this Monday about the bill:

Johnson has been slow to decide on when and how to bring the bill to the floor. He’s been sensitive to some complaints from lawmakers. Let’s dig in.

SALT revolt: Some blue-state Republicans have been pushing to increase state and local tax deductions in the bill. This is a key priority for their districts but one that could also unravel other support for the package. Now, Long Island lawmakers are escalating that fight.

Rep. Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.) said he won’t vote for the bill unless it has at least some relief from the $10,000 SALT cap. LaLota said he and other New Yorkers could take action against unrelated rules votes to make the point that leadership needs to listen to them on SALT.

“In this Congress, in order for individual members to have their voices heard when leadership doesn’t listen to them, they have called the rules into question,” LaLota said.

Another “no” vote without SALT relief, Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.), said he’s also considering voting down unrelated rules over the issue. “Perhaps it’s time that us rational become the radical,” he said.

Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.) also told us Monday night that he won’t support the bipartisan package without SALT.

“There might be other things we don’t support either, if this bill moves forward by suspension,” he said.

Other GOP members railing against the lack of SALT relief are not signaling “no” votes for now. Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) didn’t say how he’d vote on the bill, and Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) told us he was undecided.

Garcia said the bill is good but he’s told leadership without a “pinch of SALT” in it, the GOP will lose its House majority. The members pressing this issue mostly hail from vulnerable districts that President Joe Biden won in 2020.

What do the SALT backers want? Several have mentioned allowing twice the deductions for married couples filing taxes jointly, who are currently subject to the same SALT cap as individuals.

That plan would cost about $12 billion per year, Lawler told reporters. That could be significant in the scope of this package, which includes under $80 billion in policies and is roughly offset.

The SALT push could be a headache for leadership. On the tax bill itself though, Republicans seem to have confidence they’ll be able to push it through. Democrats are expected to put up a strong number in favor of the package.

– Laura Weiss, Brendan Pedersen and Jake Sherman

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