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Trump 'open to changes' to key Republican tax bill

Donald Trump has hinted that he could accept changes to his key tax bill as he looks to win over holdout Republican senators in an effort to pass the package by the end of the year.

In a morning tweet, the president said: "With just a few changes, some mathematical, the middle class and job producers can get even more in actual dollars and savings."

He suggested openness to making unspecified changes to the way millions of "pass-through" businesses are taxed, a sticking point for some legislators.

Mr Trump and Republicans have set as a vital political goal the passage of tax overhaul legislation by the end of the year.

The House of Representatives recently passed a 1.5 trillion dollar (£1.1 trillion) bill, and Senate Republican leaders hope to muscle the bill through this week.

The package blends a sharp reduction in top corporate and business tax rates with more modest relief for individuals.

Mr Trump is meeting five members of the Senate Finance Committee who are on board with the Republican plan, and will travel to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to personally lobby Republican senators.

In a boost for Republican efforts, senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said he would back the measure.

"I'm not getting everything I want - far from it. But I've been immersed in this process. I've fought for and received major changes for the better - and I plan to vote for this bill as it stands right now," Mr Paul said.

Republicans have no votes to spare in the Senate, where they hold a razor-thin 52-48 edge.

Holdouts include Susan Collins of Maine, who has objected to a provision in the Senate bill repealing the requirement under the Obamacare programme that everyone should have health insurance.

Ms Collins has said that issue should be dealt with separately from the effort to overhaul the tax code.

Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has already declared his opposition to the bill, saying it does not cut business taxes enough for partnerships and corporations.

Bob Corker of Tennessee, and John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona also have concerns about the bill and its impact on the nation's deficit.

Last week, Mr Trump promised to "give the American people a huge tax cut for Christmas".

AP

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