Flake to back tax bill, giving GOP 50 votes

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeJeff Flake becoming Harvard fellow Democrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Amash gets standing ovation at first town hall after calling for Trump's impeachment MORE (R-Ariz.) said on Friday that he will support the Republican tax plan, handing leadership the 50th vote needed to pass the bill.
 
"I am pleased to announce I will vote in support the tax reform bill," he said in a statement.  
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Republicans had to kick work on the tax plan into Friday when deficit hawks led by Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerPress: How 'Nervous Nancy' trumped Trump Amash gets standing ovation at first town hall after calling for Trump's impeachment Jeff Daniels blasts 'cowardice' of Senate Republicans against Trump MORE (R-Tenn.) threatened to kill the bill during an unexpected floor showdown on Thursday evening.
 
Republicans are expected to pass their tax plan as soon as Friday

Leadership appeared confident on Friday morning that they had the votes to pass their tax plan.

"We have the votes," McConnell told reporters after a closed-door caucus meeting.

GOP Sens. Corker and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMaine House speaker announces challenge to Collins Senate seat GOP senators divided over approach to election security GOP lawmakers want Mulvaney sidelined in budget talks MORE (Maine) have not said how they will vote on the tax legislation. 

Flake said in addition to getting rid of an $85 billion "budget gimmick," he had also secured an agreement to work on a legislative fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

"The second was to obtain a firm commitment from the Senate Leadership and the administration to work with me on a growth-oriented legislative solution to enact fair and permanent protections for DACA recipients," he said.

The Trump administration announced earlier this year that it would end the DACA program.

A group of Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley raises concerns about objectivity of report critical of GOP tax law's effects Overnight Health Care: Key Trump drug pricing proposal takes step forward | Missouri Planned Parenthood clinic loses bid for license | 2020 Democrats to take part in Saturday forum on abortion rights Key Trump proposal to lower drug prices takes step forward MORE (R-Iowa), made an offer to Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinCongress unlikely to reach deal on Trump border bill before break Democrats want White House hopefuls to cool it on Biden attacks Overnight Health Care: Trump officials defend changes to family planning program | Senators unveil bipartisan package on health costs | Democrats pass T spending bill with HHS funds MORE  (D-Ill.) that would pair much of Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats give Trump trade chief high marks GOP senators divided over approach to election security GOP lawmakers want Mulvaney sidelined in budget talks MORE's (R-Texas) border security bill with an immigration fix that did not include a path to citizenship.

Some House Democrats, and a growing number of Senate progressives, have pledged to oppose any government spending bill without a deal on DACA. 

  
Updated 12:20 p.m.