Senate Republican tax bill gains support

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republican leaders wrangled with the last few GOP holdouts Thursday as they pushed toward passing the first major rewrite of the nation’s tax code in more than three decades, a package that would impact rich and the poor as well as businesses big and small.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he expected a final vote late Thursday or early Friday on a $1.4 trillion package that would slash the corporate tax rate, offer more modest cuts for families and individuals and eliminate several popular deductions.

Lawmakers would then try to reconcile the Senate package with one passed by the House in the hope of delivering a major legislative accomplishment to President Donald Trump by Christmas. Republicans have cast passage of a tax overhaul as a political imperative to ensure they hold their House and Senate majorities in next year’s midterm elections.

“We’re heading down the homestretch,” McConnell told reporters on Thursday.

The package would add $1 trillion to the budget deficit over the next decade, much less than previously projected, according to a congressional analysis released Thursday.

The tax bill would increase economic growth, generating an additional $458 billion in tax revenue, according to the analysis by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. The committee previously estimated that the package would add $1.4 trillion to the deficit.

The additional revenue is a boost to the bill but is still far short of the $2 trillion promised by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Two Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, announced their support for the tax package Thursday, giving it a major boost. Both McCain and Murkowski had voted against the GOP bill to dismantle the Obama health care law this past summer in a blow to the GOP.