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Key Senate panel passes tax bill after 2 holdout GOP senators flip to 'yes'

The Senate Budget Committee passed the Republican tax bill 12-11 on Tuesday, as protesters shouted "kill the bill" and were arrested outside the doors.

The senators divided along party lines, with Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) flipping to "yes" just before the vote, Bloomberg Politics reports. Previously, Johnson had announced his opposition to the bill, and Corker was among a handful of holdouts whose vote was unclear.

With a slim 52-to-48 Senate majority, Republicans can only afford two defections and still pass the legislation. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office expects the tax bill to increase the nation's deficit by more than $1.4 trillion over the next decade. A full Senate vote could come as soon as Thursday.