The Senate voted last night 52-48 (party line, 52R to 46D and 2I) to begin formal debate on the tax reform bill. This sets the stage for a vote on final passage later this week.

League sources say here’s what’s going to happen now:

  • The Senate will now begin 20 hours of debate.
  • Debate will likely end Thursday evening, and the Senate will move immediately into the rapid amendment voting session known as vote-a-rama.
  • That process can be expected to go late Thursday or into the early hours of Friday morning.
  • When that concludes, the Senate will vote on final passage.
  • A substitute amendment (called a “manager’s amendment) is being offered tonight or tomorrow. This will consist of the current Senate bill plus several policy changes insisted on by Republican Senators and House Republican Leadership. This is viewed as an attempt to avoid having a conference.

Democrats will most likely offer a large number of amendments that will most likely fail on a party-line vote.

At this point it looks like the bill will pass the Senate. Then, the question becomes will there be a conference. The answer is TBD.