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- The Senate Budget Committee voted 12-11, along party lines, to move the GOP tax bill to the full Senate.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said GOP leaders were still trying to get enough votes to pass their tax bill.
- McConnell said that trying to get 50 votes for the bill was like “sitting there with a Rubik’s cube.”
The Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday voted to move the GOP’s massive tax bill to the full Senate, clearing the last procedural hurdle before the whole chamber can debate it.
Republican leaders had been slightly worried when Sens. Ron Johnson and Bob Corker, both members of the committee, said on Monday that they would not vote for the bill, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in its current form.
Republicans met on Tuesday to hash out their concerns, and the bill passed the committee on a 12-11 party-line vote.
Despite the committee moving it forward, the bill is not guaranteed to pass on the broader Senate floor.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday that Senate GOP leadership was still trying to procure enough votes for its massive tax bill.
The bill is being considered under budget reconciliation, a process that allows it to pass the Senate with a simple majority. That means Republicans, who control 52 seats, can afford only two defections, as the vice president would cast a tiebreaking vote.
At a press conference following the Senate Republicans’ weekly lunch, attended this week by President Donald Trump, McConnell said that getting 50 Republicans on board to pass the tax bill had been a complicated process.
“It’s a challenging exercise,” McConnell said. “Think of sitting there with a Rubik’s cube trying to get to 50. We do have a few members who have concerns, and we’re trying to address them. We know we will not be able to move forward until we get 50 people satisfied.”
At least eight Republican senators have expressed serious concerns about some part of the bill.
The White House applauded the legislation’s passage in the committee.
“The momentum driving our shared priorities of job growth, economic competiveness [sic], and fiscal responsibility through tax reform is undeniable, and this Administration is encouraged by the progress the Senate has made toward achieving these priorities,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement.