They had been planning to spend December focusing on putting the finishing touches on major tax legislation, their top priority ahead of next year’s elections.
But the agreement announced Wednesday guarantees they’ll have to also contend with raising the debt limit, always one of the toughest votes lawmakers face, as well as averting a government shutdown — not to mention a slew of other pending business.
That threatens not only to test Congress’ bandwidth. It also raises the embarrassing prospect of having to simultaneously raise the legal cap on borrowing while approving deficit-swelling tax cuts.
What’s more, it could give Democrats leverage over Republicans’ tax plans because the GOP will need their votes to avert a default.
“This changes the whole dynamic of how a tax bill happens,” said a longtime tax lobbyist.
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