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McConnell: We Have The Votes To Pass Tax Reform Bill


After initially being forced a delay a vote on a massive tax reform bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., declared Friday that GOP leaders have been successful in winning over enough reluctant lawmakers to pass the legislation.

"We have the votes," McConnell told reporters as he walked to the Senate floor following a Republican conference meeting.

At least fifty Republican Senators have agreed to support the bill, allowing the GOP to pass the legislation with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.

Senators Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Steve Daines, R-Mich., revealed they agreed to vote for the bill after securing additional tax relief for pass-through businesses.

Under the agreement, the deduction for pass-through businesses will increase to 23 percent from 17.4 percent, which Daines said would provide $60 billion in tax cuts for Main Street businesses.

A report from CNBC said senators are expected to raise the tax rates for businesses repatriating assets to offset the cost of the changes.

Senator Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said he has also agreed to support the legislation after securing the elimination of an $85 billion expensing budget gimmick in the bill.

Flake said he has also secured a commitment from Senate leadership and the Trump administration to work on a growth-oriented legislative solution providing protection for illegal immigrants brought to the country as children.

With Senator James Lankford, R-Okla., also agreeing to vote in favor of the bill, Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., are currently the only remaining undecided Republicans.

Collins tweeted that the bill will include her amendments allowing taxpayers to deduct up to $10,000 for state and local property taxes and reducing the threshold for deducting medical expenses but did not definitively say she will support the legislation.

The delay in the vote on the bill was partly due to the Senate parliamentarian ruling against the so-called "trigger" proposed by Corker that would raise taxes if the economic growth generated by the tax cuts does not offset the cost.

Corker, who has expressed concerns about the tax cuts raising the budget deficit, told NBC News on Friday that he thinks Republicans can approve the tax reform bill even without his vote.

Republicans can only afford to lose two votes and still pass their tax reform bill through the budget reconciliation process.

If Senators vote to approve their bill, lawmakers from the Senate and House will need to go to conference to work out differences in the bills passed by the two chambers.

(Photo: Gage Skidmore)

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