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- The Senate is expected to vote on the Republican tax bill on Friday afternoon.
- GOP leaders are scrambling to get 50 votes.
- Two Republican holdouts, Ron Johnson and Steve Daines, said they would support the bill.
- That may give it enough votes to pass.
Republican leaders secured two more votes for their massive tax bill on Friday morning, and it appears to have given the bill enough votes to pass.
Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Steve Daines of Montana said they would support the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act after last-minute changes to benefits for pass-through entities.
With those two votes, Republicans leaders now say they think they have the votes needed to pass the bill.
When reporters asked John Cornyn, the second-highest-ranking Republican in the Senate, whether the bill had the votes to pass, he said, “I believe so.”
Pass-throughs are businesses like a limited-liability company or an S-corporation in which the owner books the profits of the company as personal income. The GOP bill originally gave these businesses a 17.4% deduction on their profit, but Johnson and Daines wanted to increase that amount, arguing that doing so would bolster small business.
Daines said the deduction was raised to 23%, which satisfied him.
“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,” Daines said in a statement Friday.
Johnson told the local Wisconsin radio station WISN that he was on board with the plan as well. The senator was one of three members who held up proceedings on the bill for nearly an hour on Thursday night because of concerns about the bill.
With the addition of Daines and Johnson, it appears that Bob Corker and Jeff Flake are the only remaining Republican senators with public objections to the bill.
The GOP, which has 52 Senate members, could afford to lose Corker’s and Flake’s votes – but no more – and still pass the bill without Democratic support, as Vice President Mike Pence could break a 50-50 tie.
Debate on the bill is expected to resume at 10 a.m. ET, and a final vote should come Friday afternoon.