Senate GOP Appears to Clinch Tax Bill Vote With Collins Support

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GOP Pushes to Pass Tax Overhaul Bill Within Days

Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said she’ll back the GOP tax bill -- putting to rest any questions about her support.

With Collins’s backing, the GOP has all but clinched the votes necessary to pass the legislation. Collins had said previously she wanted to review the final legislation before deciding.

This week marks the last leg of Republicans’ push to revamp the U.S. tax code, with both the House and Senate planning to vote by Wednesday on final legislation before sending it to President Donald Trump.

The House is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the tax bill following a floor debate that morning. The House Rules Committee will meet Monday evening to set the terms for the floor vote, according to a statement from the Committee.

The legislation will then be sent to the Senate, where GOP leaders intend to bring it up as soon as they get it, said David Popp, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Under Senate rules, the measure will be debated for up to 10 hours, divided equally between Republicans and Democrats, so that could push the vote to Wednesday. Either side can elect to give up some of its time, something Republicans might choose to do to speed passage.

Democrats could use some of their allotted time to challenge provisions in the tax legislation by arguing they violate Senate budget rules because they don’t relate to federal revenue or spending, or that they add to the deficit after a decade. Provisions that may have violated the so-called Byrd rule, such as repealing a law that restricted political speech at tax-exempt organizations like nonprofits and houses of worship, were struck from the final bill to avoid dealing with last minute changes on the Senate floor.

Any changes to the bill in the Senate would require the House to vote again to approve modifications.

After the Senate acts, Congress enrolls the bill and then the measure could be sent to Trump within just a couple of hours for his signature. Most of the bill’s changes would take effect Jan. 1, 2018.

— With assistance by Erik Wasson

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