Senate Republicans narrowly passed a bill to overhaul the American tax system in the wee hours of Saturday morning, navigating party fractures to approve a plan that lawmakers were still scraping together in the hours before the vote.
With the 51-49 vote, the GOP leaps closer to its promise of dramatically remaking U.S. tax law under a Republican-led government. Republicans see changing the tax code as crucial to their electoral success after GOP opposition sank attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The GOP still needs to overcome significant disagreements for the House and Senate to craft a joint bill and send it to President Donald Trump's desk. Republicans hope to reach a deal by Christmas, a quick timeline considering the differences in their plans.
Following the vote, Trump tweeted that Republicans were "one step closer to delivering MASSIVE tax cuts" and said he wanted to sign a bill by Christmas.
Last-minute changes to the Senate plan won over multiple skeptical Republicans on Friday, a day after a policy roadblock threatened to slow the bill's momentum. The GOP did not release the final version of the broadly unpopular bill until Friday night.
The surprise GOP "no" votes to sink the party's policy goal never surfaced, unlike in September when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., turned his thumb down on the Senate floor to quash Republican hopes of repealing Obamacare.
A GOP sprint to finish and approve the bill sparked backlash from Democrats, who shared videos of themselves parsing through the 479-page legislative text, which featured handwritten changes. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., accused his counterparts of "descending to a new low of chicanery."