Multiple Republicans in the U.S. Senate say the GOP has the votes to pass tax reform, including their numbers one and two. Speaking to reporters after a closed-door meeting, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kty., said “we have the votes.”
“We’re confident in the 50 and we’d like to build on that,” Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters on Friday.
If the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passes, it would be the first overhaul to the U.S. tax code in 31 years, since President Ronald Reagan. It slashes the corporate tax rate to make U.S. businesses more competitive with overseas corporations, offers tax cuts for working families and individuals, as well as eliminates several special interest loopholes and deductions.
The bill got a boost on Thursday when Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., said in a statement he will vote “Yes” on the tax overhaul. The Arizona senator was one of a handful of Republicans uncertain about how they would vote. On Friday, his colleague Senator Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., announced he will vote in favor of the president’s signature tax reform bill.
“From the outset of the current debate on tax reform, my goal has been to ensure that Congress passes a tax reform package that is both fiscally-responsible and promotes economic growth,” Senator Flake said in a statement. “Having achieved both of those objectives, I am pleased to announce I will vote in support of the tax reform bill.”
Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wis., another key holdout, said first in a radio interview with local WISN that he secured changes in the bill relating to taxes paid by businesses. As a result, he is now a “Yes” on the legislation. He tweeted a statement.
“I’ll be voting yes on tax reform. Appreciate Senate leadership and @POTUS willingness to work to close the gap between pass-throughs & C corps,” Senator Johnson voted. “There’s a lot of work still to reconcile Senate & House bills, and I’ve been assured a seat at the table during those negotiations.”
I’ll be voting yes on tax reform. Appreciate Senate leadership and @POTUS willingness to work to close the gap between pass-throughs & C corps. There’s a lot of work still to reconcile Senate & House bills, and I’ve been assured a seat at the table during those negotiations.
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) December 1, 2017
Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., a holdout who wanted automatic triggers in place to re-hike taxes if growth didn’t meet projections, echoed Senator Corker’s confidence in the whip count.
Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, didn’t say whether she would ultimately support the bill or not. However, she claimed to have won an agreement to add a limited deduction for local property taxes. She was pushing for homeowners to be able to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes, a key demand by the housing lobby on K Street.
UPDATE: The bill has been changed to include local property tax deductions up to $10,000. To pay for it, the new plan doesn’t fully repeal the alternative minimum tax (AMT) on high-income families and would increase a one-time tax on profits held overseas by U.S.-based corporations.
The push to get above 50 votes is worthwhile for Republicans, who expect at least 3 and as many as 5 Red State Democrats to crossover and vote for the bill if it becomes clear it will pass without Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote.
President Donald Trump was in Missouri yesterday pushing his tax cut and tax reform agenda, a Red State represented by vulnerable incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.
“If we do this, then America will win again like never before. A vote to cut taxes is a vote to put America first, again,” President Trump said. “It’s time to take care of our workers, to protect our communities and to rebuild our great country.”
Staffers and sources tell People’s Pundit Daily (PPD) they expect votes to begin late Friday.