Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) only knows what today’s Republican tax bill looks like because lobbyists sent it to her.
McCaskill posted a picture to Twitter of amendments to the Senate tax bill that she was sent from a lobbyist Friday afternoon and not by Republican leadership.
This is so bad. We have just gotten list of amendments to be included in bill NOT from our R colleagues, but from lobbyists downtown. None of us have seen this list, but lobbyists have it. Need I say more? Disgusting. And we probably will not even be given time to read them. pic.twitter.com/Mn0i56JeZg
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) December 1, 2017
The list, pictured above, doesn’t delve into the content of the amendments, giving a simply one-line description of them. They range from a deduction for religious instruction tuition to improving employer credits for paid family and sick leave.
Democrats have long objected to the lack of transparency with the bill to reduce tax investments, though Republicans have countered that their working group is not trying to hide anything.
Lobbyists were hard at work on this particular bill from the outset, pushing hard for various cuts and divestments for a month. The Week reported that there were 11 lobbyists for every member of Congress pushing for tax reform. 31 of those lobbyists are former members of President Trump’s administration and campaign.
“It’s guns ablazing, from what I’ve witnessed,” one anonymous Republican told The Hill. “Once it goes to the floor, you’re too late in the process.”
That’s exactly McCaskill’s problem. Democrats have not been given the amendments, The full text of the bill has not yet been released. The Senate will be expected to vote on the bill late Friday with inadequate time for those ‘out of the loop’ to even know exactly what is being voted on.
“These are the amendments they are stuffing in the bill that we will be asked to vote on in a few hours. Without time for us to read or ask questions. I can assure you the process is not working,” McCaskill tweeted.
Influence of lobbyists exploded this year, according to disclosures obtained by The Hill. Over 500 new lobbying groups have registered to work on tax policy, more than double the number registered last year.
“Having said that, there is a whole shit-ton of pontification going on, but very few people are at that level of saying they know what’s in it,” said another anonymous Republican in early November. “The universe on the Hill that’s talking about this, the staff making decisions is very small.”
Republicans are expected to pass their tax plan later today. As yet, there is no indication when Democrats will know what they’ll be voting on.