Daines says he’s now a ‘yes’ vote on Senate GOP’s tax reform bill

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, initially expressed concern about the Senate tax bill’s impact on small businesses, but said those issues have now been resolved.

Montana Sen. Steve Daines is now a “yes” vote on the U.S. Senate’s tax reform bill after the legislation was changed to provide a 20 percent deduction on income for small, so-called “Main Street” businesses.

In a pair of tweets Wednesday, Daines said he can now vote for the bill, a key pickup for his fellow Republican senators.

“There has been some good progress for Main Street businesses in the tax cut bill,” Daines wrote. “I was able to secure more than $60 billion in tax cuts for Main Street businesses. These Main Street businesses will be able to provide more jobs and higher wages in Montana and across the country.

“I’ve seen enough progress to vote yes to move the debate forward.”

Earlier this week, Daines said he could not vote for the GOP tax reform plan because it would harm small businesses while benefiting the nation’s largest corporations.

No more than two Republicans can oppose the bill for it to pass the Senate. Daines became the second potential “no” vote, alongside Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc. Johnson remains opposed to the bill.

Daines has not expressed concerns for other provisions of the legislation, focusing solely on its impact on small pass-through businesses, which he said account for 68 percent of all private sector employment in Montana.

“Pass-through” businesses are taxed under the individual tax code because they are sole proprietorships, LLCs or partnerships.

As originally proposed, the Senate GOP’s tax bill would have cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and pass-through businesses would have received a 17.4-percentage point deduction.

Daines said the new version of the bill gives small businesses a 20 percent deduction on income, enough to satisfy his concerns.

Montana Sen. Jon Tester remains opposed to the tax bill for a host of reasons, including concerns about its impact on lower- and middle-income Montanans, health care, graduate students, older Americans and small businesses.