Can’t quite call him good-for-nothing at this point. Flake, who along with Bob Corker, another Republican Senator announcing earlier this year that he won’t run for re-election, had demanded the tax reform bill be shrunk so as not to negatively impact the deficit, just said he’s for the bill.
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.
Flake’s decision officially gives Majority Leader Mitch McConnell the 50 out of 52 GOP senators he needs to let Vice President Pence break a tie on the legislation.
Republicans are expected to pass their tax plan as soon as Friday.
The holdouts from Corker and Flake meant that the Senate leadership went back to Sens. Ron Johnson and Steve Daines, who were withholding support because they wanted a better deal for small businesses, increasing the deduction for pass-through businesses to 23 percent — up from the 17.4 percent originally set by the legislation. That improved the bill enough to get Johnson and Daines to back it. Flake then gave up, and he’s now on board. The guess is Corker will as well; if he doesn’t he really looks like a jerk. And he knows it.
“I realize that there’s probably enough votes right now to pass it,” said Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), who had tried to find a compromise that would reverse tax cuts if the tax legislation, which currently costs $1.4 trillion in tax revenue, failed to pay for itself through economic growth as Republicans hope. Mr. Corker, who has emerged as one of his party’s most steadfast deficit hawks, said he expected the tax cut would probably pass without his support.
“I think so,” Mr. Corker said when asked. “I’m certainly not trying to rally people in a different direction.”
That means the only holdout left other than Corker is Susan Collins, who is always reticent to support things everybody else in the GOP wants.
Look for a vote later today, and then the conference-committee process to take place starting next week.
So long as there isn’t major fallout from the bombshell of Mike Flynn rolling over to Robert Mueller and testifying that Trump ordered him to make contact with the Russians which would somehow affect the Senate, and there is no reason why that should happen (not that reason holds much sway in Washington politics), there should be a tax reform bill on the president’s desk by Christmas.