Alabama Election Has GOP Racing Against The Clock

Republicans are feeling the pressure to move quickly on tax legislation ahead of next month’s Senate election in Alabama. 

Senate Republicans already have little margin for error, as they can afford only two defections and still pass their tax-cut bill if Democrats are united against it.

But that margin would fall to one vote if the Democrat in the Alabama race, Doug Jones, defeats GOP candidate Roy Moore on Dec. 12. Polls have suggested a Jones victory is a real possibility in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against Moore.

An Alabama election official on Friday said the winner of the race could be seated as early as Dec. 26, giving Republicans a short window for action.

Republicans had already talked of getting a bill to President Trump’s desk by Christmas — and that deadline appears even more critical now, likely forcing a furious push in December. 

“They’ve got to find a way to get to 50 votes [on a tax bill] as fast as possible,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.

The House has already passed its version of the tax bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is planning to start floor consideration of the upper chamber bill’s next week, when senators return from the Thanksgiving recess.

Read more from Naomi Jagoda at The Hill

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Analysis & Political Strategy