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Flake to back tax bill, giving GOP 50 votes

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFive reasons why US faces chronic crisis at border Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain Former GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' 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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Flake's decision officially gives Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell seeks to end feud with Trump Senate GOP signal they won't filibuster debate of hate crimes bill Colin Powell on Afghanistan: 'We've done all we can do' MORE (Ky.) the 50 out of 52 GOP senators he needs to let Vice President Pence break a tie on the legislation.
 
Republicans had to kick work on the tax plan into Friday when deficit hawks led by Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerFox News inks contributor deal with former Democratic House member Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain Roy Blunt won't run for Senate seat in 2022 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 CollinsSenate GOP signal they won't filibuster debate of hate crimes bill Democrats work to pick up GOP support on anti-Asian hate crimes bill Against mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan 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 GrassleyChuck GrassleyHolder, Yates lead letter backing Biden pick for Civil Rights Division at DOJ Number of migrants detained at southern border reaches 15-year high: reports Grassley, Cornyn push for Senate border hearing MORE (R-Iowa), made an offer to Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinSchumer warns Democrats can't let GOP block expansive agenda Holder, Yates lead letter backing Biden pick for Civil Rights Division at DOJ Biden's gun control push poses danger for midterms MORE  (D-Ill.) that would pair much of Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSenate GOP signal they won't filibuster debate of hate crimes bill Application portal for venue grants down for five days with no updates Democrats work to pick up GOP support on anti-Asian hate crimes bill 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.