When Republicans tried to repeal and replace Obamacare over the summer, they acted like a bunch of free range chickens", said Republican Senator John Kennedy. "Everybody was upset, tired, mad, people drawing lines in the dirt."
Not this time. Republican leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of his party's Senate leadership brought party members into line this week and finally won passage of a sweeping tax overhaul early on Saturday.
Late arm-twisting and deal-sweeteners for wavering lawmakers allowed them to push through legislation that aims to slash corporate taxes and cut personal taxes.
Democrats complained it was a bad deal for middle-class and poor Americans and would irresponsibly raise the national debt by $1.4 trillion over the next decade. But they were outnumbered and Republicans' discipline, in short supply for much of this year, saw the bill through.
The debate revealed how the Republican Party is undergoing a transformation under President Donald Trump. Republicans who fight above all for a balanced budget no longer wield the power they once had.
"I feel somewhat like a dinosaur," deficit hawk Bob Corker admitted on Friday afternoon. Hours later, he was the only Republican to vote against the bill.
Fear also played a role. The risk of a backlash from wealthy donors and conservative supporters if the party failed to deliver on another campaign promise ahead of mid-term elections next year helped party leaders get the legislation approved in a 51-49 vote.