Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Republicans should hold off on a vote for tax reform until Senator-elect Doug Jones (D-AL) is seated.
SCHUMER: The election of Senator Doug Jones should have another effect on this chamber as well.
It would be unseemly and imprudent to rush a massive piece of partisan legislation through this chamber before Doug Jones is seated. To rush such a massive piece of partisan legislation when the people of Alabama have just sent us a new senator and try to jam it through before he gets here would be so wrong. Doug Jones will be the duly elected Senator from the state of Alabama in a few short weeks. The governor didn't appoint him; the people chose him. It would be wrong for Senate Republicans to jam through this tax bill without giving the newly elected senator from Alabama the opportunity to cast his vote. The people of Alabama deserve to have their representative in the Senate to debate the biggest issues of the day -- and the tax bill certainly falls under that category.
So today, Senate Democrats are calling on Leader McConnell to hit pause on his tax bill, and not hold a final vote on it until Doug Jones is sworn into the Senate.
That's exactly what Republicans argued when Scott Brown was elected in 2010. Referring to health care, Leader McConnell said that it would be "gamesmanship" to pursue big-ticket legislation before Scott Brown was seated. He asked us to "honor the wishes of the people of Massachusetts." Leader Reid, in fact, waited until Scott Brown was a Senator before any further votes on health care. "We're going to wait until the new senator arrives until we do anything more on health care," he said. But as too often has happened, Senator McConnell does one thing when Republicans are in charge and a different when Democrats are in charge. Here's another example, McConnell says when there's a new senator, in that case Scott Brown, slow down work on major legislation and Reed exceeded.
We are calling on Senator McConnell to do simply the same thing today; let's see if he does. So I call on Leader McConnell to do as Senator Reid did: honor the wishes of the people of Alabama that has newly elected a senator and wait to move forward on the tax bill until Senator Jones arrives.
If Republicans insist on barreling ahead, and I understand the pressure is on them from their hard right, multibillionaire paymasters, they'll be pouring gasoline on the fire.