House misfires on tax bill, must revote after Senate finds three Byrd rule violations

House misfires on tax bill, must revote after Senate finds three Byrd rule violations
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) leaves the House Chamber after voting on the Republican tax bill. Jacquelyn Martin/AP
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) leaves the House Chamber after voting on the Republican tax bill. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

House Republicans celebrated on Tuesday, after they passed their long-promised tax reform plan — but their celebration was premature.

The House voted on a bill that violated Senate parliamentary procedure, and the entire House will have to revote on an amended version of the bill on Wednesday.

Three provisions were found to violate the Byrd Rule — a Senate rule that says that in order to pass a bill in the Senate with a simple majority, all provisions in the legislation must be budgetary in nature.

The three provisions that violate that rule were:

- A provision pushed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would allow people to use 529 college savings plans to be used on homeschool expenses.

- A provision that exempts colleges from paying tax on their endowment if the college has fewer than 500 tuition-paying students.

- And the bill’s title, “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

The bill is likely to pass the House again with these provision struck.

However, the brouhaha is an embarrassing stumble for the GOP, which was already facing criticism for rushing the tax bill through without fully understanding its implications.

Democrats immediately seized on the blunder.

“In the mad dash to provide tax breaks for their billionaire campaign contributors, our Republican colleagues forgot to comply with the rules of the Senate,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement.

“We applaud the parliamentarian for determining that three provisions in this disastrous bill are in violation of the Byrd rule. It is our intention to raise a point of order to remove these provisions from the conference report and require the House to vote on this bill again. Instead of providing tax breaks to the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations, we need to rebuild the disappearing middle class.”