Republicans can only lose two senators and still pass their tax plan in the Senate
Johnson cited concerns with the way the Senate's bill treats pass-through entities
Sen. Ron Johnson announced he is opposed to the tax bill Wednesday, making him the first member of the GOP to formally come out against the party’s plan, though the Wisconsin Republican said he was hopeful about being able to support a final version once changes are made.
Johnson issued a statement saying the current proposal in both chambers is imbalanced in favor of large corporations but he left open the door to supporting the bills if they are altered.
“Unfortunately, neither the House nor Senate bill provide fair treatment, so I do not support either in their current versions,” he said. “I do, however, look forward to working with my colleagues to address the disparity so I can support the final version.”
Johnson also told The Wall Street Journal that he is not able to vote for the bill as it’s currently written.
“If they can pass it without me, let them,” Johnson told the WSJ. “I’m not going to vote for this tax package.”
Johnson has previously expressed concerns about how small businesses are treated in the Senate bill, but he had not formally announced his opposition until Wednesday.
Johnson’s opposition means that Republican leaders are once again facing a very narrow path to passage. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only lose two members of his conference and pass the bill along party lines. With Johnson out, all eyes turn to other members who may be concerned about the announcement Tuesday that the Senate Republicans would include a repeal of the individual mandate in their tax bill.
Repealing the individual mandate failed earlier this year after Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted against a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. None of those members have come out officially against the tax bill, however.
This story has been updated and will continue to update with additional developments.