Flake didn’t get much in exchange for his vote.
Until early Friday afternoon, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), was one of two key holdouts on the Republican tax plan, due to his concerns that steep corporate and individual tax cuts in the bill would add $1 trillion to the national debt.
But shortly after noon, Flake assured Senate leadership he would vote “yes” on taxes after leadership offered him two concessions. One was an agreement to phase out business expensing, a measure allowing businesses to write off the cost of new equipment, which Flake called an “$85 billion budget gimmick.”
The other was an agreement from the White House and Senate leaders to negotiate on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era program shielding about 800,000 young unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children from deportation.
In exchange for his vote, Flake was promised nothing more than a seat at the table — not any specific policy concessions or a timeline for when the agreement might happen.
“Giving protections for those kids — that’s what I hope comes out of it,” Flake told Vox. “Obviously they can’t commit to do that, but they’ve committed to move forward with me and work with me on that.”
But he also admitted the timeline on those negotiations is uncertain, saying that Congress can’t do a deal under budget reconciliation but that he hope it happens before the end of the year.
“[President Trump] has expressed an interest in getting this done; obviously we’ve got a March deadline and so it has to be done,” he said. “I would just like to get it done before the end of the year. You shouldn’t make those kids wait with that kind of uncertainty.”
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