Senate Republicans are hoping for tax reform by Christmas, but they still need to make sure to get a few more members of their party on board first.
In order to do that, GOP lawmakers are considering different measures to garner more support, including implementing an automatic trigger that would raise taxes if the legislation failed to garner as much revenue as expected.
Republicans only have two votes to spare in the Senate, where they hold a 52-to-48 edge. Vice President Mike Pence would break the tie, if needed.
Here’s a look at which Republicans to watch when it comes to the current tax reform measure.
Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., has some concerns about the tax reform legislation but told Fox News Tuesday that he’s had “very constructive and positive conversations” with President Trump and others in the administration who have a hand in overhauling the nation’s tax process.
Daines said he is “optimistic” that the improvements could be made to the bill before it’s time to vote. And he said Wednesday he’d vote yes to move the motion.
Wisconsin’s Sen. Ron Johnson originally wasn’t too big of a supporter of the tax bill, but after meeting with Senate leadership and Trump, he voted it through the Budget Committee.
He told Fox News that Trump promised to fix some of the problems he had with the measure and would work with them as the bill moves to the full Senate. Johnson voted to move the legislation out of the Senate Budget Committee Tuesday and said he’s been assured that his concerns with pass-throughs will be addressed.
When it came to Republicans’ efforts to overhaul the health care system, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was not on board. Now Republicans are looking to see if she’ll join them on taxes.
Collins has reportedly said there are things she is “trying to change” regarding the current legislation. But after meeting with the president Tuesday, Collins said she was feeling “optimistic” about tax reform.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., is one Republican who still hasn’t made up his mind – at least publicly – about his vote on tax reform. He has said he’s concerned about how the legislation will impact the national debt, but he did vote it through the Senate Budget Committee Tuesday.
Corker wants to include a “backstop” or trigger in the legislation that would increase revenues even if the plan falls short.
After Trump’s meeting with Senate Republicans, Corker said, “I think we’re getting to a very good place on the deficit issue.”
“While we are still working to finalize the details, I am encouraged by our discussions.”
Like Sen. Bob Corker, Jeff Flake has been publicly at odds with the Trump administration – especially since he announced his impending retirement from the Senate.
And also like Corker, Flake, R-Ariz., has not publicly announced where he stands on the tax reform legislation but has expressed concern about its impact to the country’s debt.
At a town hall event last week, Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., refused to commit to the current tax legislation but did say that he is “for some tax bill.”
“Can we find taxes to cut that grow the economy? We don’t want to increase the debt and deficit as a result of tax cuts,” Moran said, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. “My goal is to find out which taxes you cut can actually help create more jobs, better jobs, higher-paying jobs … and which ones don’t do that. Not all of them do that.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told WFOR-TV that when it comes to tax reform, he’s looking for two components: a proposal that will make the U.S. “more competitive” and “take care of workers.”
Rubio has pushed for an expansion of the child tax credit and wants to make “it fully refundable against payroll taxes.” He introduced an amendment to the bill along with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, that would raise the proposed corporate tax rate to offset costs by strengthening the child tax credit.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Thursday that he would support the tax plan.
“I believe this legislation, though far from perfect, would enhance American competitiveness, boost the economy, and provide long overdue tax relief for middle class families,” he said in a statement.
Like others, McCain is also considered a deficit hawk when it comes to the tax bill and was worried about its impact on the federal deficit.
“Finally, I take seriously the concerns some of my Senate colleagues have raised about the impact of this bill on the deficit. However, it’s clear this bill’s net effect on our economy would be positive. This is not a perfect bill, but it is one that would deliver much-needed reform to our tax code, grow the economy, and help Americans keep more of their hard-earned money.”
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., wants to make sure the legislation doesn’t increase the federal deficit but finally said Tuesday he was “on board with” the plan.
“Yes, I am on board with this bill because I want to see the good economic growth that’s coming with it,” Lankford told CBS News.
He had previously been seen as someone whose support was uncertain.
A more moderate Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski put speculation regarding her feelings on the tax measure to rest as she tweeted that she would support the bill due to certain provisions that she said will benefit her state of Alaska.
“We still have work to do on this legislation and I look forward to debate on the Senate floor and my colleagues’ ideas to further improve it,” Murkowski said.
“The bill before us has a number of features that are very attractive to Alaskans. It lowers tax rates, doubles the child tax credit, and provides tax relief for many families by doubling the standard deduction,” she said.
Murkowski also praised the tax bill as it comes with a provision that would allow drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – something that she’s long pushed for.
Fox News’ Peter Doocy and The Associated Press contributed to this report.