Many Republicans are unhappy with the deal President Donald Trump reached last week with Democratic leaders to raise the government's debt ceiling and allow it to continue financing federal spending programs until December 8.
During a speech in North Dakota last week, Trump said: "We are not going to allow the death tax or the inheritance tax or the whatever-you-want-to-call-it crush the American Dream".
In fact, Mr. McConnell said, the debt limit will not have to be increased until well into 2018, taking that volatile subject off the table for the December spending talks, and eliminating the Democrats' most unsafe bargaining chip in the first round of negotiations.
Invited lawmakers reportedly include Donnelly and Democratic Sens. They should declare the release of Trump's tax returns as a prerequisite for any work on the tax code; anything less marks Republicans in Congress complicit in Trump's refusal.
The Caucus leader, Jim Jordan said, "When you fail to prepare, you typically don't get the best outcome and you don't have the best choices at decision-making time - and that's exactly what played out".
The Democrats hail from states Trump won in November, and the White House is interested in getting their support for a tax bill.
Today, the difference is that Trump has Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, but has still failed to pass major legislation. Congress took just three days to push the legislation through.
Trump shocked and infuriated many congressional Republicans when he rejected Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) wishes by siding with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Republicans plan to use a process known as reconciliation to pass tax reform, which would only require approval by 50 senators.
And Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., the head of the Senate Republican campaign arm, called Bannon's efforts "a distraction".
Trump's deal with the Democrats has frustrated some Republicans and comes at a time when the president has been publicly criticizing the GOP.
"I've talked with President Trump before about my proposal to address the outsourcing of American jobs", Donnelly said in a statement. The estate tax is one item on Trump's tax-reform laundry list, which has not yet been formulated into a legislative package.
Republicans are upset because they believe it gives Democrats a stronger bargaining position in future debt limit negotiations. "But we're going to get this down to a very competitive level".
Howard Kurtz, a Fox News media analyst, said, "The move underscores what I've always maintained about Donald Trump, that he's basically an independent president". Already, Trump has gone on the attack against the most vulnerable Republican members of the Senate, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Dean Heller of Nevada. And in a closed-door House conference meeting last Friday, House Republicans laid into Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin after Mnuchin told the conference to vote for the debt ceiling bill "for me".
"I think right now you see the president willing to reach across party lines when it's in the nation's interest to do so".