By a vote of 51-49, Republicans have successfully passed a major tax overhaul in the Senate.
As expected, Democrats voted by party line. The sole GOP senator voting with the Democrats was Bob Corker.
As reported by TheHill
The Senate passed legislation to overhaul the tax code early Saturday morning, handing Republicans a badly needed legislative and political victory.
Senators voted 51-49 to pass the plan, capping off days of debate and hand wringing as leadership worked frantically behind the scenes to win over holdouts and get the proposal in line with the chamber’s rules.
Republican Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) bucked party leadership and voted against the plan amid lingering concerns over the impact on the deficit. No Democratic senator supported the legislation, with Democrats quickly leaving the chamber after voting no.
Vice President Pence presided over the final passage vote. GOP senators, who stayed on the Senate floor until the vote closed after midnight, broke out into applause after Pence announced the bill had passed.
“This is a great day for the country,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said during a 2 a.m. press conference after the vote.
“We have an opportunity now to make America more competitive, to keep jobs from being shipped off shore and to provide substantial relief for the middle class.”
Corker, who is retiring after 2018, said in a statement ahead of the vote that he “wanted to get to yes” on the tax plan.
“But at the end of the day, I am not able to cast aside my fiscal concerns and vote for legislation that I believe, based on the information I currently have, could deepen the debt burden on future generations,” he said.
The bill would lower tax rates for individuals through 2025 and permanently cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. The bill’s tax cuts for individuals are temporary in order to comply with budget rules that the measure can’t add to the deficit after 10 years.
The bill would also repeal ObamaCare’s individual mandate, a priority for President Trump and many Republicans, and open up a section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for drilling.
Republican senators will now move to reconcile their legislation with the House’s proposal, passed in mid-November, as they try to get a final product to Trump’s desk by the end of the year.
The vote in the early morning hours of Saturday came after Trump met this week with key senators, including leadership and holdouts. Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, was also spotted outside of the Senate chamber in the hours leading up to Saturday’s vote.
McConnell had a narrow path to getting the bill through the upper chamber. With a 52-seat majority, he could only afford to lose two GOP senators and still let Pence break a tie.
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