McConnell confirms votes are there to pass tax-cut bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday that "we have the votes" to pass the GOP tax bill.

McConnell talked to reporters after a closed-door meeting of Republican senators.

One prior holdout, Sen. Susan Collins, says she won an agreement to add a deduction for local property taxes. The Maine Republican had been withholding her support for the bill because she wanted homeowners to be able to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes.

The original Senate bill had completely eliminated the tax deduction for state and local taxes.

Still, Collins was coy about whether she would ultimately vote for the bill. Smiling, Collins said, "I'm pleased with the progress that's being made but I'll announce my position in a couple of hours."

In addition Friday, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate says the GOP has the votes to pass a sweeping tax overhaul.

That's the word on Friday from Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who told reporters, "We're confident in the 50 and we'd like to build on that."

Republicans hold a slim 52-48 majority, but with 50 vote—and Vice President Mike Pence breaking a tie—they can muscle their legislation through the Senate.

Cornyn made the comments after Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson said he had won concessions for businesses and would support the legislation.

The sweeping tax overhaul would slash the corporate tax rate and ease some taxes on individuals.

Johnson's support for the legislation is a major boost for McConnell as he tries to muscle the measure through the Senate.

GOP leaders hope to vote on Friday and send the measure to a House-Senate conference to work out the differences. They want to deliver a bill to President Donald Trump by Christmas.

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