Written by Edward Smith
(AP) — The Latest on Senate Republicans’ tax overhaul bill (all times local):
Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she supports the Republicans’ sweeping tax package, now that it would allow oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Murkowski got the provision added earlier this week, but her initial version violated arcane Senate rules about which provisions can be added to the tax bill.
The Alaska Republican said Thursday the provision was tweaked to comply.
She says, “We have done it and we’re ready to go.”
Drilling in the refuge has long been a contentious issue, pitting environmentalists against those who want to increase domestic oil production.
The Senate is expected to vote on the tax bill late Thursday or early Friday.
Sen. John McCain says he’s decided to support the Senate tax bill. The Arizona Republican’s announcement gives a boost to GOP leaders hoping to push the measure through the chamber this week.
McCain says the tax legislation is “far from perfect.” But he said it would spur the economy and ease the tax burden for middle class families.
McCain was among three Republicans who helped derail the party’s effort to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law last summer. He’s battling brain cancer.
McCain had expressed concerns about the measure’s impact on federal deficits. It’s projected to add more than $1.4 trillion in red ink over the coming decade.
Republicans control the Senate 52-48 and can lose only two GOP votes and still prevail, assuming solid Democratic opposition.
A Senate Republican holdouts on the GOP tax overhaul says she still has problems with the legislation.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine says, “I have a lot of concerns that I’m trying to fix.” She spoke to reporters Thursday at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.
She says it would be “very problematic for me” and hard for her to vote for the bill if it still includes elimination of the federal deduction for state and local taxes.
Collins wants an exception to let homeowners deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes. She would make up the estimated $146 billion in lost revenue by keeping the personal income tax rate for the wealthiest earners at 39.6 percent and making a smaller cut in the corporate tax rate.