Flake to back tax bill, giving GOP 50 votes

Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff Flake (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.  {mosads}
Flake’s decision officially gives Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (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 Corker (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 Collins (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 Grassley (R-Iowa), made an offer to Sen. Dick Durbin  (D-Ill.) that would pair much of Sen. John Cornyn’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.
Tags Bob Corker Chuck Grassley DACA Dick Durbin GOP tax plan Jeff Flake Jeff Flake John Cornyn Mitch McConnell Republican Party Susan Collins
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