BUFFALO, N.Y. — For members of the U.S. House of Representatives, it's a waiting game now, with the Senate expected to vote on its version of the tax reform bill next week.
"I'm feeling very optimistic it will get through the Senate with 50 votes, maybe even 51. Who knows?" Rep. Chris Collins, R-NY-27, said.
If passed, the two houses will start the process to reconcile their bills. Collins said he expects the Senate to drive the conference since it can only afford to lose two votes.
"There were some things taken out I didn't want taken out. The Senate's added some of them back so I think the final bill will look a little more like the Senate bill than the House bill. We're about 90 percent the same," he said.
Collins said he agrees with pieces restored in the Senate proposal like medical deductions and the $18,000 tuition waiver for graduate students. In order to pay for the additions, it delays cutting the corporate tax rate.
"They've delayed it a year and as much as I'd like it to take place, putting some of these things back and delaying the tax cut one year, I think is a decent compromise," he said.
Monday in Buffalo, a few dozen people protested Collins’ support of the reform despite his repeated claims the bill represents a tax cut for them.
"He hasn't told the truth in the past and I've looked at all different kinds of analyses and that does not pan out," Citizens Against Collins Co-Founder Michelle Schoeneman said.
The protesters acknowledged the House has already passed its bill, but say the demonstration is still important.
"We just want him to understand that we're very displeased and that going forward, we hope he'll consider his constituents instead of his donors," Schoeneman said.
One major difference in the Senate proposal is the complete elimination of the State and Local Tax Deduction. The House agreed to restore the deduction for property taxes up to $10,000.
"I'm going to support it even without because it does not matter. Whether the cap is there or not, whether the $10,000 property tax cap is put back in, it does not matter because 98 percent of my residents are not going to itemize," Collins said.
While his Republican colleague Congressman Tom Reed has vowed not to support a bill without the compromise, Collins said it's a non-issue because the standard deduction has doubled, eliminating the need for all but the very wealthy to utilize the S.A.L.T. deduction.