Sen. Portman works to close gap between House, Senate tax reform plans

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Republican leaders are tying a bow on the final version of tax reform – but keeping details under wraps. Opponents said the promised Christmas present amounts to coal.

A group of 29 lawmakers is responsible for drafting the final version of tax reform. Before even meeting for the first time, the 17 republicans reached a handshake agreement amongst themselves according to CNN.

“Everybody’s going to get some tax relief and that’s needed right now,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) before the news of a deal in principle broke.

The final plan will face up or down votes in both chambers. Portman said a deal won’t do anything to jeopardize GOP support in the Senate – where the initial plan passed with a razor thin margin.

“I think we can get through this without major changes and get this to the American people before Christmas,” said Portman.

The details of the plan are not expected to be released for a couple of days. But, republicans continue to say it promises tax breaks and a booming economy, while democrats remain skeptical.

“They end up with a bill that rewards the wealthiest, punishes the middle-class and poor,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia).

Kaine said that the last time the Senate voted, it did so with little time to review the details. He suggested that with even a little more time ahead of the next vote, there’s still hope for the opponents to break the GOP’s fragile coalition.

“We can shine spotlights on some of real problems with this bill convince some colleagues that they can do a lot better,” he said.

If the final agreement truly emerges by the end of the week, the House and the Senate would be on schedule to vote as early as next week.

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