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Sen. Ron Johnson said Wednesday he opposes the tax bill. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

Parts of the Senate's tax bill — like the repeal of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and the sunset of the individual and small business tax cuts despite a permanent corporate tax cut — are endangering its passage.

Our thought bubble: Sen. Ron Johnson's declared opposition and the sudden prospect that the GOP could lose a Senate race in Alabama next month giving them only one vote to spare if the tax bill takes longer than a few weeks, have increased the odds of the tax bill's success. Driving Republicans forward is the intense pressure they face for a legislative victory.

Here's a rundown of where important senators stand on the bill:

The health care trio: These three senators sunk the health care bill in July. Inserting an individual mandate repeal into the tax bill has thrown their votes for it into question.

  • Sen. Susan Collins: The mandate repeal will increase premiums for people without health care subsidies on exchanges, which "would wipe out the tax cut that they would get under the bill...It is a political mistake as well because it complicates tax reform, and it means that no Democrat's going to vote for the bill – or it makes it much less likely."
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski: "Tax reform is complicated, health care is complicated, when you mix the two together, it makes it even more complicated." "My concern is what it might do to insurance premiums... I've got a little bit of homework to do in understanding where that is, because I think that's key to this." "If you're going to include the repeal of the individual mandate, at a bare minimum, you have to have a fix like the Alexander-Murray...What I don't know is whether it helps it sufficiently."
  • Sen. John McCain: He voted against the health care bill because it didn't go through a normal process. He's not happy with how things are going with the tax bill. "I just picked up the newspaper today and they've made a huge change. Every day there seems to be – no, it's not" regular order, he said. "I can't comment on every day's activities...But I lean toward the tax cuts." On whether the tax bill can get back on track: "I have no idea, but I'm insisting on regular order."

Deficit hawks and sunset skeptics: The tax bill currently would add $1.415 trillion to the deficit over the next decade. To avoid adding to the debt after that, it ends the individual and small business tax changes after 2025, while keeping the lower corporate rate permanent.

  • Sens. Bob Corker and Jeff Flake have long been regarded as deficit hawks to watch. Both are also retiring, meaning they're free to vote their conscience.
  • Sen. Jerry Moran: He's currently undecided on whether he supports the tax components of the bill. "I would say the individual tax changes should be treated similarly to corporate tax changes as far as their permanency." He said it's also bad optics. While Moran said the inclusion of mandate repeal won't keep him from voting for it, he thinks mixing health and tax is a bad idea. "There is an easier common ground to be found on taxes than there has been on health care, and so again, it takes something that has a greater potential, taxes, of being bipartisan and more broadly supported and reduces that."
  • Sen. Mike Lee is still weighing whether he's ok with the sunsetting rates, his office said.

Sen. Ron Johnson and Roy Moore:

  • Johnson said Wednesday he currently opposes the bill because it doesn't do enough to help small businesses.
  • Moore is currently polling well behind Democrat Doug Jones in the Alabama Senate race. If the GOP loses this seat and doesn't wrap up their tax work before Christmas, that means it'll have one vote to spare in the Senate.

Go deeper: The GOP tax bill tracker

Go deeper

Updated 9 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

10 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.