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02 December 2017, 12:51 | Marta Robbins
Hillsdale College Wikimedia Commons
"We have the votes", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellsaid after a closed-door meeting of Republican senators.
"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. That made McCain's backing important as leaders tally support. "That disparity between the US tax code and foreign tax rates has literally chased jobs and wages out of this country". The bill now features a 23 percent tax deduction for such business owners, up from the original 17.4 percent, according to statements from Daines and Johnson. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., the last two senators who need to get on board. They include some wanting bigger tax breaks for many businesses but others cringing over the $1.4 trillion - or more - that the measure is projected to add to budget deficits over the next decade. Then, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., committed to supporting the plan, leaving Republican leaders confident that they had the support. He can afford to lose only two votes while counting on Vice President Mike Pence to break the tie.
Republicans are eyeing a crucial final vote Friday on the $1.4 trillion Senate bill.
"Today may be the first day of a new Republican Party - one that raises taxes on the middle class".
GOP leaders are still revising the legislation, without support from Democrats, behind closed doors.
Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said the bill as now constructed gives too much of its benefits to corporations and that their plan to make the $2,000 credit fully refundable to low-income families "would level the playing field for families, while still kick-starting national investment and growth". The projection left the votes of several GOP lawmakers in doubt, including Corker and Flake. Flake said the tax increases would take affect after six years.
"Other countries have learned how to use their tax codes to entice USA 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.
The Club for Growth, for example, issued a vote alert after the standoff on the Senate floor that "urges all Senators to vote NO on any amendment that will increase any of the corporate or individual tax rates established in the proposal that was approved by the Senate Budget Committee".
The Senate is set to resume consideration of the Senate Republican tax plan on Friday.
Some Democrats agreed that USA corporate taxes should be lowered, but insisted the Republican plan goes too far and would eventually trigger painful cuts to federal programs that benefit the poor and elderly in the future. Both the Senate and House bills end deductibility of state and local tax income and sales tax.
The support Friday from the senators, among the last Senate GOP holdouts, moves Republicans closer to passing the plan. That's far short of the $2 trillion promised by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The current Senate bill completely eliminates the federal deduction for state and local taxes, a popular benefit in the Democratic-leaning states of New York, New Jersey, California and IL as well as many wealthy suburbs nationwide.
Collins said she had won an agreement to change the Senate bill so state and local property taxes would be deductible up to US$10,000, mirroring legislation already passed by the House.
The House bill, meanwhile, would tax the value of tuition waivers for graduate students employed as teaching and research assistants, dramatically hiking taxes on a modestly compensated workforce. Without the deduction, Collins said, it would be "very problematic for me" to vote for the bill.
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