In Early Morning Vote, Senate GOP Passes Sweeping Tax Reform Bill

Republicans moved one step closer to achieving one of President Donald Trump’s top legislative priorities as the Senate passed its version of tax reform early Saturday morning.

Passing on a 51-49 vote, the bill included steep corporate tax cuts and a repeal of Affordable Care Act’s controversial penalties for the individual mandate.

Senate GOP leadership pushed for the bill’s passage this week, but it was unclear on Thursday whether the entire party would back the bill with its $1 trillion in deficits. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and others pushed for a provision to trigger tax increases if revenue fell too low.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) originally projected the bill would create $1.4 trillion in deficits over ten years, but the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation later mitigated that estimate when it said the bill would spur economic growth and create more than $400 billion in additional revenues.

Saturday’s early morning vote came after a number of handwritten revisions to the legislation by Senate Republicans. Their Democrat counterparts, for their part, motioned to adjourn until Monday to allow for time to review the revisions. But that motion was shot down in a 48-52 vote.

Republican’s tax reform effort received a significant boost this week after multiple lawmakers considered a toss-up put their weight behind the bill. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who infamously killed the party’s effort to repeal and replace tax reform earlier in the year, backed the bill on Thursday.

Sen. Susan Collins said she’d support the bill after working “to ensure that the Senate bill includes a number of important changes,” The Hill reported.

Senate Democrats took to social media ahead of Friday’s vote to slam Republicans over the condition of the 479-page tax bill, which had been revised with handwritten changes in the margins.

“Can anyone read this?” Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-DE) asked. “Any handwriting experts out there? I’d like to know what this says before they call for a vote. This is absurd,” Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) said.

The Senate’s approval comes just weeks after the House of Representatives passed its version of tax reform, a bill that the CBO said would raise the deficit by $1.7 trillion.

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