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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is still trying to persuade some of the holdouts. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Senate GOP leadership — along with President Trump — is scrambling to get the support of holdout senators for the tax bill when it reaches the Senate floor. Talks seemed to be going well on Tuesday, although no concrete commitments seem to have been made, and many members aren't showing their cards yet.

Be smart: Holdout members are being given hope for candy without vegetables. Everything they want — and seem to be potentially getting — costs money that Republicans really don't have to spend. Paying for it could end up being painful.

Here's what the holdouts are saying:

Sen. Susan Collins:

  • Trump told senators at lunch today that he would support adding in a $10,000 property tax deduction to the tax plan, as the House bill did, according to Collins. She's been calling for this.
  • Trump also told senators he would support the Alexander-Murray health care proposal and the Collins-Nelson reinsurance bill if the Affordable Care Act individual mandate is repealed, according to both Collins and Sen. Lindsey Graham. This is exactly what Collins has asked for in exchange for repealing the mandate.
  • "I am happy to report that I am making progress on the issues that matter most to me...I think they're eager to help me get to yes."

Sen. Bob Corker:

  • Told reporters he would vote for the bill in the Budget Committee markup over an "agreement" about how the tax plan will play out given different scenarios of economic growth. In a statement, Corker said it was a “trigger mechanism to ensure greater fiscal responsibility should economic growth estimates not be realized.”
  • Other Republicans say that means tax increases, and insist they’ll never vote for it. ""I'd rather drink weed killer,” Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana told reporters. "If I vote for that thing, consider me drunk.”

Sen. Steve Daines:

  • Told Axios he was "pleased" after his discussion with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell today about the tax negotiations since he felt he had been "listened to on fighting on behalf of Main Street businesses," but was mum on whether he was any closer to a "yes" vote.

Sen. Ron Johnson:

  • Voted for the bill in Budget, but a spokesman said this was to keep moving the process along. It's unclear if he's been offered changes to the small business provision that he finds acceptable.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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