February 8, 2024 10:03 pm

“We don’t comment on private staff or member discussions, and Senator Crapo did not sign off on the deal because his issues were not resolved,” said Amanda Critchfield, a spokesperson for Crapo, in response to a POLITICO request for comment.

Three Democratic aides involved in the negotiations, who asked not to be named to discuss private negotiations, told POLITICO they reengaged with their Republican colleagues in long-running discussions on the tax package back in July. Weekly “four corners” meetings that included Smith, Wyden, Crapo and House Ways and Means ranking member Richard Neal (D-Mass.) started in October and ran through January, according to those sources.

POLITICO reviewed documents, provided by Democratic aides, describing the negotiations that occurred last fall and listing Crapo’s staff as giving their feedback on the CTC proposals. The structure of the CTC, announced along with the rest of the deal on Jan. 16 by Wyden and Smith, mirrored what Senate Republicans indicated they could live with through numerous back-and-forth discussions, Democratic aides said.

One Senate Democratic aide involved in the negotiations said they were frustrated to see the Wyden-Smith tax deal be treated by Senate Republicans as a new proposal that needs rigorous vetting.

Lawmakers can “find an excuse not to support anything. Saying no is the easiest thing in the world,” Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) said Thursday of GOP opposition to the compromise, adding, “I believe there’s going to be broad bipartisan support in the Senate.”

The fragmented reception of the tax bill is yet another sign of dysfunction in the Senate as negotiators on key policy compromises, such as immigration policy, seem to not have buy-in from members on bipartisan deals they worked on for months. The heavy politics of the 2024 presidential election appear to be getting in the way of policy proposals that otherwise might get broader GOP support.