MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Republicans have closed in on victory in their fight to lure a giant iron mine to northwestern Wisconsin, pushing a bill that would overhaul the state’s mining regulations through the Legislature’s budget committee and setting up final votes in the coming days.  The Joint Finance Committee approved the bill on a 12-4 party-line vote Monday, clearing the way for approval Wednesday in the state Senate and next week in the Assembly. With Republicans in control of both houses and GOP Gov. Scott Walker touting the bill as his signature job-creation plan, the measure appears close to becoming law.  Republicans have been working for nearly two years to help Gogebic Taconite open a massive open-pit iron mine in the Penokee Hills just south of Lake Superior. The company has pledged the project would create hundreds of jobs for the economically depressed region and thousands more for equipment manufacturers around the rest of the state. But the company wants state lawmakers to ease the regulatory path before it moves forward.