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NY Rep Peter King: "We Have Enough 'No' Votes To Block Budget"

In a pronouncement that confirms the worst fears of Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republican Congressional leadership, New York Republican Peter King told a group of reporters that he has enough 'no' votes to block ratification of the senate version of the federal budget - a crucial step in the process toward tax reform that could potentially sink the White House's plan before the bill has even been written.

King's declaration follows a Politico report from earlier that Gary Cohn told a bipartisan group of legislators that the final bill would scrap a deduction for state and local taxes - known as the SALT deduction. Scrapping the deduction would lead to a dramatic increase in the federal tax bill for taxpayers in blue states, which tend to have higher taxe rates. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is managing the bill on behalf of the White House along with Cohn, has characterized the deduction as an unfair subsidy from the federal government, and has said the final bill would make it up to taxpayers in other ways.

“How anybody from New York and New Jersey can vote for this budget without knowing what is in the tax bill is beyond me," King said. He later reaffirmed his opposition by exorting Republicans from New Jersey and New York to vote against the Senate budget.

OMB Dir. Mulvaney wrong about ending SALT deductions. NY & NJ subsidize rest of USA. Show some fairness Mick!

— Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing)


GOP failure to preserve

will devastate NY and LI. Must vote NO on budget to stop this!

— Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing)

King alleged that he and fellow GOP Rep. Dan Donovan, also of NY, weren’t invited to several meetings with Republican leaders on the tax issue - suggesting that little has been done to hammer out a compromise.

“They are trying to pick us off one by one," King said.

In a rare feat of political honesty, King admitted that sitting back and letting the deduction be scrapped without a fight would be political suicide, because eliminating the deduction would be financially devastating for his constituents.

“The rest of the country is getting a tax cut and the best they are offering my folks is you will break even? I can’t go back to my district and say re-elect me, it could have been worse," he said. “This proposal will devastate my district forever.

One state over, New Jersey Rep. Frank LoBiondo tweeted his opposition to the bill....

I am voting NO Ali. Make sure to share with your fellow protestors to my office this afternoon. Hi from US Capitol! Frank

— Frank LoBiondo (@RepLoBiondo)

Tom MacArthur, another New Jersey Congressman, met with Vice President Mike Pence to discuss tax reform, and hinted that Republicans would be able to work out a compromise with the holdouts. Some have speculated that a deal preserving the deduction for middle- and working-class families might satisfy the blue-state resistors.

Met w

today to discuss the importance of the SALT deduction. He reaffirmed commitment to tax cuts for the middle class.

— Tom MacArthur (@RepTomMacArthur)

Finally, New York Congressman Tom Reed, who's a member of the influential Ways and Means committee, which has authority over the budget, insisted during an appearance on Bloomberg TV that Republicans would find a way to preserve the SALT deduction.

The folks in our region deserve a tax break and that is what I am working to do. cc:

— Tom Reed (@RepTomReed)

Passing the Senate budget would unlock the reconciliation provisions that would allow Senate Republicans to circumvent a Democratic filibuster and pass tax reform with a simple majority. After Mitch McConnell on Sunday reassured the public that tax reform was progressing on schedule, and President Donald Trump and his Republican peers in the senate gushed about their productive lunch meeting earlier today, the doubts about whether the budget will pass seem to be emerging right on schedule. This is hardly the first time the administration and Republican leaders have talked up their chances of winning a vote, only to see it fall apart at the last minute.

With a vote on the budget set to take place tomorrow morning, we wait to see if Ryan will move ahead with the vote and risk an embarassing defeat, or delay it.