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Touting benefits to middle class, Republicans fight to pass tax reform bill

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., points to boxes of petitions supporting the Republican tax reform bill that is set for a vote later this week as he arrives for a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Republicans on Capitol Hill are in the home stretch, heading towards the finish line to get a tax bill passed by the end of the year.

The GOP party is in need of a major legislative win after failing to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

The biggest point they're touting this bill will do: help middle-class families.

"Your taxes are going to go down," U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said. "People will have more money to take home, which means more to spend, which means more goods will be created."

Counselor to President Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway said the Trump administration wants to make sure those families benefit -- and soon.

"We are very optimistic we can deliver a Christmas and holiday gift to the American people, by way of a middle-class tax cut and a cut for our job creators," Conway said.

Job creation is, in fact, at the core of the measure, Acosta said.

"The tax reform bill is really a job creations bill," Acosta said. "We want to create more jobs."

"You do that by empowering small businesses across America to grow and to expand...Every time a small business grows, they can hire and invest in their employees, training -- and that's what we need."

Despite serious concern over getting the 50 Senate votes needed, Republicans in Washington remain positive.

"I am hopeful," Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said. "I think we'll get it done."

"I don't think it'll be easy. There are many ways, sadly, that this can go off the rails -- but I think virtually every Republican wants to get to yes."

Yet confounding the GOP's efforts to secure votes, even in their own party, is an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office that the Senate bill would increase the deficit by $1.4 trillion over the next decade.

On top of that, Democrats accuse Republicans of caring more about a calendar win than the bill's very real consequences.

"They're just ramming and jamming this thing through because they want to say they have a victory before we go home for the holiday," Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., said.

The measure is largely a partisan one, some lawmakers said.

"What we've seen instead is a purely partisan bill that doesn't provide relief to middle class families," Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., said. "At the same time, the vast, vast majority of the benefits would go to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans."

Looking ahead, tax reform isn't the only thing on lawmakers' minds. Another deadline is fast approaching; this one, to fund the government.

Legislators have until December 8 to pass a budget -- or face a shutdown.

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