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Flake to support Senate GOP tax-reform bill - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Flake to support Senate GOP tax-reform bill

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WASHINGTON, DC - Senate Republicans steamed toward passage of a $1.4 trillion tax bill Friday, overcoming eleventh-hour hitches in their drive to deliver a major legislative accomplishment to President Donald Trump by Christmas.

"We have the votes," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said after a closed-door meeting of Republican senators.

One prior holdout, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., announced that he would support the bill. And another, Sen. Susan Collins, came close.

The Maine Republican said she won an agreement to add a deduction for local property taxes.

Still, Collins was coy about whether she ultimately would vote for the bill.

Smiling, Collins said, "I'm pleased with the progress that's being made but I'll announce my position in a couple of hours."

With the party controlling the Senate 52-48 and Democrats uniformly opposed, Republicans need 50 votes to win approval for the bill. Vice President Mike Pence would break a tie.

Momentum for the measure was boosted earlier Friday when Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., declared he would vote for it. Johnson said leaders had agreed to make tax breaks more generous for millions of businesses, which he's been demanding for weeks.

"I sought assurance and I was given assurance that I will be at the table" when Senate-House bargainers write a compromise version of the bill, Johnson said of talks he had with GOP leaders Thursday night.

Senate passage would push Congress a step closer to the first rewrite of the nation's tax code in three decades.

The bill seemed to be sailing toward passage Thursday, until a report was released by Congress' nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimating the package would produce budget deficits totaling $1 trillion over the coming decade.

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