2 Republican senators say they will vote for the GOP tax bill, all but sealing its passage

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesSen. Susan Collins of Maine.

  • GOP Sens. Susan Collins and Mike Lee announced they would support the GOP tax bill.
  • Despite the absence of Sen. John McCain due to complication from his cancer treatment, the bill should have enough votes to pass.
  • A House vote is expected to take place on Tuesday with a Senate vote shortly afterwards.

Two Republican senators announced they would vote for the final GOP tax reform bill Monday, virtually guaranteeing the measure will pass the chamber.

Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, said on Monday during a floor speech that she will vote “yes” on the Republican tax bill after winning some concessions and promises from Republican leadership.

Sen. Mike Lee, a conservative, tweeted that he finished reading the more than 1,000 page bill and would support it when it comes to a vote.

“Just finished reading the final Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” Lee said. “It will cut taxes for working Utah families. I will proudly vote for it.”

The decision by Collins and Lee appears to seal a victory on the bill, named the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), for Republicans, as the pair were two of the few members still on the fence about supporting it.

There was some concern that Republicans could fall short on the vote last week, but a change of heart by some members seems to have put the bill on track to pass.

Sen. Bob Corker, the only Republican to vote against the TCJA the first time it came to the Senate floor, said he would vote for the final bill on Friday. Sen. Marco Rubio also relented on Friday after changes were made to the child tax credit.

Republicans will be down a vote, due to the absence of Sen. John McCain for health issues, and Sen. Jeff Flake has yet to say whether he will vote for the bill. But even if Flake defects, that gives the GOP a 50 to 49 vote advantage.

Collins voted for the Senate iteration of the TCJA after she was assured that Congress would consider the bipartisan Alexander-Murray Obamacare stabilisation bill and ensure that the Pay As You Go, or Paygo, law that would require mandatory Medicare cuts would be waived before those cuts could go into effect.

There has been no clear move by Congress to waive Paygo and prevent the cuts. Additionally, House Speaker Paul Ryan has not agreed to bring the Alexander-Murray bill for a vote on the House floor. Ryan did suggest that he was open to the idea.

The House is scheduled to take a vote on the final TCJA on Tuesday, with the Senate following either later that day or early Wednesday.

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