Democrats are pushing for a compromise with the House GOP on tax reform, and the party is moving forward with a tax bill that they hope would lower the deficit.
But the House is facing a tricky path toward passing a measure by the end of the year, and House Speaker Paul Ryan is pushing to put the plan before a vote on Dec. 18.
The bill would lower rates for individual and business income and give states a boost in the first year.
But a group of top Democrats are urging the GOP to get it to the floor for a vote by Dec. 24, arguing that they will have to fight tooth and nail to secure passage.
“It would be a relief if we could get to a compromise by the deadline,” said Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
“If we don’t get to that compromise by Dec., then we’ll be back at square one.”
The House Ways and Means Committee is set to hold a markup of the tax bill on Wednesday.
The legislation, which would cut taxes for families, businesses and individuals, would add $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade, with the most immediate effect on families earning $75,000 and higher.
Democrats have insisted that the GOP’s tax bill is not the endgame, saying they will try to attach additional tax relief to a long-term bill that provides tax relief for working families and the middle class.
But there is little appetite among House Democrats for a lengthy extension that would make it difficult for Republicans to pass their plan through the Senate.
They have been trying to push a longer-term deal through the House over the past two weeks, but the GOP has been reluctant to budge.
The top Democrats on the Ways and and Means committee said they would be open to a “recess-level” bill, where a deal is reached and lawmakers return to the House floor.
But they warned that the package would likely have to be tweaked in order to pass the Senate, since the House would likely pass the tax package without any changes.
“I think it’s going to be hard for the Senate to pass this without a lot of changes,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D–Ill.
“There is no magic number for us.”
House Republicans have faced criticism from Democrats for not working together in the House.
Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., said on Wednesday that House Republicans should have been more “open” to working with Democrats on tax policy.
Walker, a former chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, said that Democrats have shown they have the capacity to work across the aisle.
“If you’re a member of Congress and you want to work in the best interests of your constituents, you’ve got to work to get your constituents’ votes,” Walker said.
“The last thing you want is for Democrats to do that.
If you’re trying to get a tax reform package through the legislative process, you’re going to have to get bipartisan support.
And that’s going’t happen in a couple of months.”
A senior Democratic aide told POLITICO that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi D-Calif., have been discussing ways to work together on tax legislation, but they have not come up with a specific plan.
While Democrats have not proposed a “grand bargain” with the GOP, they have signaled that they would prefer to work on a bipartisan bill that includes a package for the middle-class, rather than a tax overhaul that would boost the wealthy and help the middle.
A senior House Democrat said that Pelosi and her leadership team are working with the Ways, Treasury and Labor committees on crafting a tax plan that they think will be “more revenue-neutral,” and would not raise taxes on families or the middle classes.