Top Republican claims enough votes for Senate OK of tax bill

Casey Dawson
December 2, 2017

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said the bill will have "alternative, frankly, tax increases we don't want to do" to address deficit concerns.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), one of the last holdouts on the GOP bill, announced Friday morning that he would vote for the bill despite concerns that the legislation would add ― as the Joint Committee on Taxation said Thursday ― more than $1 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years. Susan Collins of ME said it was a "fair assumption" that she was likelier to support the bill after saying Trump agreed to make property taxes up to $10,000 deductible instead of eliminating that break entirely. Lawmakers will have to work out agreements on the estate tax, which the House bill repeals but the Senate bill merely reduces, and differences on provisions governing "pass-through" businesses that pay individual instead of corporate taxes. The plan would also increase a one-time tax on profits that USA -based corporations are holding overseas and require corporations to continue paying the business version of the alternative minimum tax.

What wasn't clear Friday afternoon was what, if anything, Sen. After holding out for almost an hour during the vote, Corker, Flake and Johnson eventually joined fellow Republicans to scuttle the Democratic proposal.

Amid a whirl of meetings and dramatic votes Thursday evening, the Senate GOP leaders rewrote the bill behind closed doors.

Republicans eyeing a crucial final vote Friday on the $1.4 trillion Senate bill. He said he was encouraged by discussions with the White House and party leaders to include a mechanism - details still unknown - to automatically trigger tax increases if specified, annual economic growth targets aren't met. That unexpected turn cast into doubt the support of Corker and Flake, prompting Senate leaders to call off plans to vote Thursday night.

Late in the day, however, three Republicans, led by Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, clung to a demand that proposed tax cuts would be pared back if future USA economic performance did not meet projections.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who on Thursday laid out several serious issues she had with the bill and changes she is demanding, has not yet confirmed she is on board, telling reporters she would announce her position later on Thursday. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

At stake is a top priority for President Donald Trump and a Republican Party that considers passage of the measure the best way to preserve the GOP's congressional majorities in next year's midterm elections. The vast majority of US businesses, big and small, are taxed this way. Sen.

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Johnson said Friday that he was won over after GOP leaders offered to boost that deduction to 23 percent. After holding out for almost an hour during the vote, Corker, Flake and Johnson eventually joined fellow Republicans to scuttle the Democratic proposal.

Corker has pushed to add automatic tax increases in future years if the package doesn't raise as much revenue as projected.

The underlying proposal would permanently cut corporate taxes, temporarily cut taxes on wages and salaries, boost some tax deductions Americans can claim while eliminating others, and increase the US national debt, which now is more than $20 trillion.

After months of negotiations and false starts, Republicans finally seem prepared to pass their most sweeping rewrite of the USA tax code in three decades.

The apparent momentum for a tax cut in the Senate promises to benefit the wealthy and corporations at the expense of lower-income taxpayers and the government's bottom line.

Lawmakers have said they expect the two bills to be merged into one, which will require approval by each chamber, but there is still a lingering chance that the House will take the Senate bill in the end.

The Senate bill would need to be merged with a House-passed measure, which leaders hope to quickly finish in the days ahead.

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