McConnell confirms votes are there for tax bill

Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., talks with the media after Senate Republicans met with President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the GOP tax bill (all times local):

12:05 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says “we have the votes” to pass the GOP tax bill.

McConnell talked to reporters after a closed-door meeting of Republican senators.

One prior hold out, Sen. Susan Collins, says she won an agreement to add a deduction for local property taxes. The Maine Republican had been withholding her support for the bill because she wanted homeowners to be able to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes.

The original Senate bill had completely eliminated the tax deduction for state and local taxes.

Still, Collins was coy about whether she would ultimately 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.”

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10:35 a.m.

The No. 2 Republican in the Senate says the GOP has the votes to pass a sweeping tax overhaul.

That’s the word on Friday from Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who told reporters, “We’re confident in the 50 and we’d like to build on that.”

Republicans hold a slim 52-48 majority, but with 50 votes — and Vice President Mike Pence breaking a tie — they can muscle their legislation through the Senate.

Cornyn made the comments after Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson said he had won concessions for businesses and would support the legislation.

The sweeping tax overhaul would slash the corporate tax rate and ease some taxes on individuals.

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9:35 a.m.

A key Republican, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, says he’s backing the sweeping GOP tax bill. That’s according to an aide.

Johnson’s support for the legislation is a major boost for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as he tries to muscle the measure through the Senate.

GOP leaders hope to vote on Friday and send the measure to a House-Senate conference to work out the differences. They want to deliver a bill to President Donald Trump by Christmas.

In a radio interview with WISN in Wisconsin, Johnson said he secured changes in the bill on the taxes paid by businesses and is now a yes on the legislation.

At issue were millions of businesses whose owners report the firm’s profits on their individual tax returns. The vast majority of U.S. businesses are taxed this way.

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6:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump says the Republican tax bill “is getting better and better.”

In an early morning Friday tweet, Trump wrote: “This is a once in a generation chance. Obstructionist Dems trying to block because they think it is too good and will not be given the credit!”

Republicans are eyeing a crucial final vote Friday on the $1.4 trillion Senate bill. GOP leaders have been making major changes up to the last minute, including one that would roll back some of the tax cuts after six years to appease deficit hawks.

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3:50 a.m.

Senate Republicans are stepping quickly to meet competing demands of holdout GOP senators for a tax overhaul package expected to add $1 trillion to the nation’s deficit over 10 years.

GOP leaders have been making major changes up to the last minute, including one that would roll back some of the tax cuts after six years to appease deficit hawks.

Republicans eyeing a crucial final vote Friday on the $1.4 trillion Senate bill.

The overall legislation would bring the first overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 31 years. It would slash the corporate tax rate, offer more modest cuts for families and individuals and eliminate several popular deductions.

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