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Senate Republicans Narrowly Approve Tax Reform Bill


Senate Republicans narrowly approved a massive tax reform bill early Saturday morning after GOP leaders managed to win over several reluctant lawmakers with changes to the legislation.

The Senate voted 51 to 49 in favor of the bill known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, with the vote largely coming down along party lines.

Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., was the only Republican to vote against the bill amid concerns about the legislation's impact on the budget deficit.

President Donald Trump praised the vote in a post on Twitter, saying, "We are one step closer to delivering MASSIVE tax cuts for working families across America."

"Biggest Tax Bill and Tax Cuts in history just passed in the Senate," Trump added. "Now these great Republicans will be going for final passage. Thank you to House and Senate Republicans for your hard work and commitment!"

The vote came after Republicans made changes to the bill to win the support of lawmakers such as Senators Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Steve Daines, R-Mich., who 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.

Senator Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., 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.

In a post on Twitter, Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she decided to vote for the bill after securing significant changes as well as commitments to pass legislation to help lower health insurance premiums.

"As revised, this bill will provide much-needed tax relief and simplification for lower- and middle-income families, while spurring the creation of good jobs and greater economic growth," Collins tweeted.

Meanwhile, Corker remained opposed to the bill after the Senate parliamentarian ruled against his proposed "trigger" that would raise taxes if the economic growth generated by the tax cuts does not offset the cost.

Democrats also unanimously voted against the bill, claiming the hastily crafted legislation benefits corporations and wealthy Americans at the expense of the middle class.

"Millions of Americans must be watching in stunned disbelief tonight as this Republican Senate sells out the middle class for the benefit of faceless multinational corporations," said Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

"What's happening here tonight brings shame to this body. Republicans have left a trail of broken promises behind in the mad dash to pass this bill," he added. "This bill has passed here in the dark of night, but this vote will not soon be forgotten."

With the vote to approve the 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.

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