John McCain says he will support the GOP tax bill, giving the plan an enormous boost

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesSens. John McCain and Chuck Schumer.
  • Sen. John McCain said Thursday that he would vote for the Republican tax plan.
  • McCain said the bill was “far from perfect” but would help the US economy.
  • McCain’s support was in question because of his previous opposition to the Bush tax cuts, his concerns about the national debt, and his votes against bills to repeal Obamacare earlier this year.

Sen. John McCain announced Thursday that he would support the Senate Republican tax plan, significantly boosting the legislation’s chances of passing as it speeds toward a vote in the chamber.

“After careful thought and consideration, I have decided to support the Senate tax reform bill,” McCain said in a statement. “I believe this legislation, though far from perfect, would enhance American competitiveness, boost the economy, and provide long-overdue tax relief for middle-class families.”

Stocks surged on Thursday amid developments surrounding the tax bill, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Dow climbed by over 350 points at one point in the afternoon, while the Nasdaq jumped more than 60.

McCain’s support was considered a toss-up because he voted against tax cuts under President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003.

The Arizona senator had cited concerns about that bill’s potential effect on the national debt, and he expressed similar ones this time. An analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation has found that the Senate’s tax bill would add roughly $US1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years.

McCain was also considered a question mark because of his votes against bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law known as Obamacare, introduced over the summer.

During that debate, McCain gave an impassioned speech in support of regular order in the Senate instead of the rushed process Republican leaders had used to bring the bills to the floor.

McCain said in his statement that the Senate’s holding hearings about the tax bill was enough to please him.

“For months, I have called for a return to regular order, and I am pleased that this important bill was considered through the normal legislative processes, with several hearings and a thorough mark-up in the Senate Finance Committee during which more than 350 amendments were filed and 69 received a vote,” McCain said.

The Senate is debating the bill and is expected to vote on it late Thursday night or Friday.

Several other GOP senators have not expressed support for the bill, citing concerns about its effect on the deficit, treatment of pass-through businesses, or proposed changes to the US healthcare system.

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