Democrats outraged over Senate GOP's last-minute tax bill reveal

Last Updated Dec 1, 2017 10:21 PM EST

Senate Democrats were outraged Friday night after Republicans unveiled the 479-page text of their tax overhaul shortly before the bill went to the Senate floor for a vote. 

The short timeframe, Democrats complained, left them no time to read all the provisions in the hefty legislation. Those hundreds of pages included new amendments and some handwritten notes that were nearly illegible. Republicans want to move the bill through swiftly, after Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Friday announced the chamber had the votes to pass the legislation

"Not a single member of this chamber has read the bill," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said on the Senate floor. "It would be impossible."

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) claimed she was handed the amendments to be included in the bill not by any of her colleagues, but by a lobbyist. Lobbyists, her comment implied, saw the bill before Democratic members. 

She also tweeted that the Senate can learn from history. Rep. Nancy Pelosi famously said, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it" about the Affordable Care Act in 2010, a comment that came back to haunt her. McCaskill, like others, pointed out how illegible some of the scribbled amendments were.

Sen. John Tester (D-Mont.) tweeted out a video of the heft bill, which he said he received shortly before the vote was expected. He too pointed out the "scribbled" policy changes.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said the bill was crafted "ENTIRELY" behind closed doors.

Some, like Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, highlighted how illegible some of the bill's scribbled notes were from the Senate floor.

On the Senate floor, members also protested last-minute amendments, such as a provision to exempt colleges and universities that don't accept federal Title IV funds from a tax on their endowments. Democrats pointed out that would apply to very few colleges — specifically, the religiously affiliated Hillsdale College in Michigan and Grove City College in Pennsylvania. 

The vote is expected to take place at some point later Friday.

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.