Republican holdouts back tax bill despite $1tn deficit alert


Protesters rally against the bill outside Congress earlier this weekImage copyright
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Protesters rally against the bill outside Congress earlier this week

Two more Republican senators have said they will vote for a White House-backed bid to pass the biggest tax cuts since the Reagan era.

Ron Johnson and Steve Daines said yes despite a nonpartisan Senate committee finding the bill will add $1tn (£742bn) to the federal deficit over a decade.

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

The Republican-controlled Senate plans a vote on Friday.

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

But they signalled their support for the legislation, which includes steeps corporate tax cuts, in statements on Friday.

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“After weeks of fighting for Main Street businesses including Montana’s farmers and ranchers, I’ve 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 told the Associated Press news agency he is confident the party has the votes needed to pass the bill.

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

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Mr Trump says the new code will be so simple, taxes can be filed on a postcard

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

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

The party’s fiscal conservatives have for years lamented the nation’s debt time bomb.

But despite the Senate Joint Committee on Taxation’s $1tn deficit warning on Thursday, the party is full steam ahead on the bill.

If it passes, the Senate would need to merge its legislation with that passed last month by the House of Representatives.

The reconciled bill would then be sent to the president’s desk for his signature to be enacted into law.

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