For Republicans, the public meeting is largely for show, as the final negotiations are happening behind closed doors and the major details have already been agreed upon. Republicans are planning to pass the bill along party lines and have so far rebuffed Democrats’ requests to change the bill.
Alabama’s election is unlikely to derail the tax bill
The odds remain strong that congressional Republicans will send a consensus tax bill to Mr. Trump, despite Democrats’ upset Senate victory in Alabama on Tuesday.
The news that Doug Jones, a Democrat, had defeated Roy Moore, a Republican, in the election immediately sent many liberal activists dreaming of another improbable win: blocking a tax bill that has already passed the House and Senate, but still needs to be reconciled in a conference committee.
Math and momentum fueled that activist optimism. Once Mr. Jones is seated in the Senate, Republicans’ majority in the chamber will narrow to a single seat. The tax bill passed the Senate on a 51-49 vote, with one Republican, Bob Corker of Tennessee, defecting. The hope among liberals, espoused on social media Tuesday night, was that Mr. Jones’ victory would give other Republicans pause and delay the process of reconciling the bills.
If another Republican senator were then to defect — for example, Susan Collins of Maine, who extracted concessions from party leadership in order to vote yes on the bill initially, but has watched some of those concessions go as yet unfulfilled — then the bill could stall.
Those scenarios still appear highly unlikely. Republican leaders in the House and Senate are close to agreement on a consensus bill, which could be announced as soon as Wednesday. They are prepared to hold votes early next week on the measure, well before the Alabama results are expected to be certified, making Mr. Jones eligible to be seated. Party leaders remain confident Mr. Trump will sign the…