Senate moves closer to passing Republican tax reform package

Sen. Jeff Flake boards the subway at the Capitol

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, on Friday said he believes Republicans have the votes to pass the bill.

Last-ditch negotiations then opened over how to offset the cost of dramatic tax cuts for corporations and more modest cuts for individuals.

In a flurry of last minute deal-making to win over votes, GOP leaders also agreed to more generous tax breaks for millions of businesses.

Because the House passed a different tax-slashing bill, the probable outcome of Senate approval - provided the House doesn't pass the Senate's version - would be a conference committee in which lawmakers from both chambers fashion a compromise that could include elements of either bill.

In other words, the tax bill won't pay for itself, even considering growth, as Republicans claimed it would. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) - wanted to craft a trigger mechanism to automatically increase taxes if the overhaul doesn't raise projected revenues via a growing economy.

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Senators Bob Corker and Susan Collins were the last holdouts as of mid-afternoon.

Details were sketchy but lawmakers said on Friday changes were being made to provisions dealing with the federal deduction for state and local property tax, a cut in the corporate income tax rate, the alternative minimum tax and a one-time tax on foreign profits held offshore by multinational corporations.

There are not yet enough senators publicly declaring that they will vote yes to reach to the needed 50 votes. Vice President Mike Pence would break a tie. "But I think we've ended up with a better bill", Senator Rob Portman said. "Every time the choice is between corporations and families, the Republicans choose corporations". The vast majority of USA businesses, big and small, are taxed this way. Sen.

"Today may be the first day of a new Republican Party - one that raises taxes on the middle class".

If accurate, the count represents a major boost for Republicans just 24 hours after momentum to pass the tax code overhaul stalled when a handful of deficit hawks balked at the controversial plan's $1.5 trillion price tag.

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Led by McConnell and with Trump deeply involved, Republicans in July failed to dismantle the Obamacare health law after years of attacking the signature achievement of former Democratic President Barack Obama. Days later, he called Trump a liar who had damaged USA standing in the world.

"Other countries have learned how to use their tax codes to entice US businesses overseas, businesses around the globe, to their country - to move away from the United States to their countries' more competitive tax code", Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado said. Its success is seen by Republicans as crucial to their hopes of retaining control of Congress in the November 2018 elections. Daines and Johnson signed on Friday morning.

The reforms would lower the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, and Cruz said there would be no stair-step increase in that rate, as some had sought.

In a statement, Flake said he had secured two objectives - eliminating an $85 billion "expensing budget gimmick" in the measure and winning a commitment to work with him on fair and permanent protections for illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children.

The scramble to alter the bill came after the Senate's parliamentarian ruled that automatic "triggers" created to guard against big deficits would violate Senate rules. Susan Collins of ME, said she couldn't support the bill unless it restored property-tax deductions of up to $10,000, like in the House tax bill.

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