Republican holdouts back tax bill despite $1tn deficit alert

From BBC - December 1, 2017

The Republican leadership of the US Senate says it is confident they have the votes to pass the biggest tax cuts package since the Reagan era.

The party whip sounded bullish after two Republican holdouts said yes despite a Senate committee finding it would add $1tn (742bn) to the deficit.

The committee's report contradicts a White House claim that economic growth would compensate for the tax cuts.

The Republican-controlled chamber plans a vote on Friday.

The nonpartisan Senate Joint Committee on Taxation found on Thursday that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would add significantly to the federal deficit over a decade.

But Senators Ron Johnson and Steve Daines said on Friday morning they would support the legislation, which includes steep corporate tax cuts.

Mr Daines, of Montana, and Mr Johnson, of Wisconsin, were among the few remaining Republicans on the fence.

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"After weeks of fighting for Main Street businesses including Montana's farmers and ranchers, I have decided to support the Senate tax cut bill which provides significant tax relief for Main Street businesses," Mr Daines said in a statement.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said he is confident the party has the votes needed to pass the bill.

"We are confident of the 50 and would like to build on that," he said.

Senate Republicans can afford to lose just two members of their party if they are to succeed.

The votes of Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee, Jeff Flake of Arizona and James Lankford of Oklahoma were also being courted by the Republican leadership.

Senators Corker and Flake have frequently clashed with President Donald Trump, and each has previously vowed not to vote for any bill that adds to the deficit.

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