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Inching toward tax plan passage, Republicans work to win over votes

Republicans are working overtime to push their version of a tax reform bill toward final passage. Democrats may be unanimously opposed, but efforts to craft compromises among Republican ranks appears to be paying off. Lisa Desjardins reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Republicans in the U.S. Senate are working overtime tonight to push their version of a tax reform bill toward final passage.

    They won a key procedural vote this evening, a sign their effort to craft compromises in their own ranks is paying off, even as Democrats are unanimously opposed.

    Lisa Desjardins reports from the Capitol.

  • Sen. Mitch Mcconnell:

    This is our chance. This is our chance.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Another big moment for the big GOP tax bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opening debate on the Senate floor today.

  • Sen. Mitch Mcconnell:

    We will be one step closer to taking more money out of Washington's pocket, and putting more money into the pockets of the hardworking men and women we represent.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    But Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer accused Republicans of rushing to pass a flawed bill.

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer:

    I would understand the rush if the Republicans were sure they had a great tax bill, but they are not sure. I know so many of my colleagues, and they expressed real misgivings.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Those misgivings do exist, at least among these nine Senate Republicans.

    Four of them, Tennessee's Bob Corker, Arizona's Jeff Flake, Oklahoma's James Lankford, and Kansas' Jerry Moran, are worried the bill could raise the federal deficit. To win them over, Republicans are working on a trigger. If deficits loom, it would raise taxes or, in one version, cut spending to bring in more money.

    Wisconsin's Ron Johnson and Montana's Steve Daines say they have won a bigger tax cut for small businesses. For Maine's Susan Collins, the issues are health care and the state and local tax deduction. And Arizona's John McCain and Alaska's Lisa Murkowski each has multiple concerns.

    The president tried to seal the deal with Congress today by appealing to the public in a speech in St. Charles, Missouri.

  • President Donald Trump:

    So, right now, America's tax code is a total dysfunctional mess. We want a tax code that is simple and fair, and that's for all Americans.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Missouri, of course, is a state where Republicans hope they and their agenda can pick up a Senate seat in 2018.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Lisa Desjardins on Capitol Hill.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the end, all 52 Republicans in the Senate voted for the motion to proceed.

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