Senate Republicans early Saturday morning passed a nearly $1.5 trillion tax bill, in a vote of 51-49, marking a significant victory for Republicans and President Donald Trump. It also marks the first major overhaul of the U.S. tax system in 30 years.
No Democrat voted in favor of the legislation.
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican, joined Democrats in opposing the bill.
The bulk of the bill’s tax cuts affect businesses and higher-earning individuals and gives more modest breaks to others.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Friday they have the votes to pass tax reform and will vote later this afternoon.
Just after noon Friday, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., announced his support of the bill in a statement, officially giving it enough votes to pass.
“For nearly two decades I have advocated for a lower corporate tax rate that will enable U.S. business to compete globally and reforms that will deliver a fairer, simpler tax code,” Flake said.
He added: “During the debate over the current bill, I’ve focused on two specific objectives. The first was to eliminate the $85 billion expensing budget gimmick in the bill. 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.
“Having secured both of those objectives, I am pleased to announce I will vote in support the tax reform bill,” he concluded.
Flake was one of three Senate Republicans whose votes were still up in the air this morning. Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, were the other two holdouts.
Collins is expected to announce her decision on the bill this afternoon, but as of this morning appeared to being leaning toward “yes,” with her office saying that negotiators were making “very good progress.”
It’s not clear where Corker stands currently, but he shared the same concerns about deficit reduction as Flake.
The plan would reduce the corporate rate, winnow the number of tax brackets and eliminate the individual health care mandate.