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McConnell Says 'We Have The Votes' To Pass GOP Tax Bill

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says "we have the votes'' to pass the GOP tax bill.

Senate Republicans are pushing for a final vote Friday on their tax reform bill, the first overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 31 years. It would slash the corporate tax rate, offer more modest cuts for families and individuals and eliminate several popular deductions.

"You don't want to count your chickens and all that, but I feel very good," said Sen. Joseph Kennedy, R-Louisianna.

Two GOP senators who had opposed the bill, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, said changes have been made to overcome their objections.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer made his case Friday morning for why he says the legislation should be scrapped.

"It's still not good enough," he said. "This bill will add $1 trillion to the deficit. All of the claims that tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy would pay for themselves are not correct. It's time for my Republican friends to come clean to the American people."

"Our problem with the bill that's on the floor right now is that it is weighted much too heavily in terms of helping the wealthiest among us," added Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Adding to the Democratic doubt was a report released Thursday by the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, projecting the GOP tax plan would only cover about $400 billion worth of the $1.4 trillion cost.

But many Republicans brushed off the findings.

"I think the JTC scoring is highly questionable," said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

"About as accurate as those late night psychic hotlines," said Louisiana Sen. John Neely Kennedy.

Some GOP members are now trying to find ways to cut the cost of the bill, among them Sen. Bob Corker.

Democrats argue if the bill passes, large corporations will be the big winners and the middle class will suffer most.

"My colleagues rushing to pass this legislation don't seem to care because the only thing that matters is delivering for donors who have too much power and influence in Washington," said Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

Most Republicans disagree, saying they'd rather have an imperfect plan than no legislation at all.

"We just can't fail," said Sen, Lindsay Graham. "I mean this is just unacceptable for the Republican party at the House and Senate and White House and not be able to reform the tax code. It is just an unacceptable outcome."

President Donald Trump said on Twitter Friday morning, "Republicans Senators are working hard to pass the biggest Tax Cuts in the history of our Country. The Bill is getting better and better. This is a once in a generation chance. Obstructionist Dems trying to block because they think it is too good and will not be given the credit!"

The tax overhaul got a boost Thursday from the support of two Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

In the Tri-State area, Republicans and Democrats have voiced opposition because of the eliminations of state and local tax deductions.

If the bill is approved, lawmakers would then try to reconcile the Senate package with one passed by the House.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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