Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) answers questions from reporters in the Senate subway about the Grahm-Cassidy health care bill. Collins says Republican leaders have assured her automatic cuts to entitlement programs that would be triggered if the GOP tax overhaul becomes law would be stopped. (Alex Edelman/Zuma Press/TNS)

GOP tax effort gains major momentum with support of two holdouts

WASHINGTON — The endorsement of the GOP tax bill by two more Republican senators on Friday morning provides major momentum heading into an expected vote on the historic overhaul.

Sen. Steve Daines of Montana will support the bill after successfully lobbying for changes in the legislation to provide greater benefit to pass-through businesses, his office announced on Friday.

The changes were enough to also get the vote of Sen. Ron Johnson, an aide to the Wisconsin Republican said.

A Daines aide said he is supporting the bill because a revised version will now include a 23 percent income deduction for pass-through business owners, up from 17.4 percent in a prior version.

“After weeks of fighting for Main Street businesses including Montana’s farmers and ranchers, I’ve decided to support the Senate tax cut bill which provides significant tax relief for Main Street businesses,” he said in statement.

As of Thursday evening, GOP leadership was negotiating a number of revisions to try to win over other skeptical Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona. Both have raised concerns on the bill’s impact on the federal deficit.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is also pushing for the inclusion of a provision to allow individuals to deduct up to $10,000 in property tax. The House-passed version includes a similar measure. Republican aides say it is likely the proposal will be incorporated into an updated bill, since it is assumed it would have to be added into a final negotiated package between the two chambers.

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