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House approves Republican tax overhaul; Senate vote next

20 December, 2017, 00:44 | Author: Samuel Sharp
  • AP		Paul Ryan was all smiles as he walked to the House floor Tuesday

The bill passed the House by a vote of 227-203, overcoming united opposition from Democrats and 12 Republicans who voted against it.

The compromise, conference bill came after the House and Senate passed their own similar but separate tax plans over the last few weeks, and it is created to win over shakey Republicans in the Senate.

The Republicans' final drive to deliver the tax package to an eager President Donald Trump begins Tuesday with a vote in the House. The bill represents the first major legislative achievement for the GOP after almost a full year in control of Congress and the White House.

While top Republicans say they expect the bill to easily pass, a familiar class of 13 moderates who opposed tax reform in the House the first time around are expected to remain opposed.

Since the bill must be altered, the House will be forced to vote again to pass an identical version of the bill.

Democrats say the bill will deepen the income gap between rich and poor Americans, while adding $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years to the mounting $20 trillion US national debt.

The legislation also reduces tax rate for most individuals, although the tax cuts for individuals are set to expire.


But three pieces of the bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), were ruled to violate the Senate's Byrd rule and must be removed from the bill before it can be voted on in the upper chamber.

Following the vote in the House, the Senate is expected to approve the bill later in the day by a narrow margin.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., spoke on the House floor moments before the vote and said the legislation will "help hard-working Americans who have been left behind for too long". The "mudfest" on television makes it unpopular, he said, but when people see the tax plan's results, it will gain public support.

The bill's main features are cuts in the corporate tax rate, an end to the estate tax, a reduction in rates for most tax filers and an increase in the individual exemption. But it also needs to abide by Senate rules that allow the measure to pass with only 51 votes (hence numerous changes being only temporary). The debt is expected to soar by at least $1 trillion more than it would without the tax measure, according to projections. Marco Rubio and Mike Lee, congressional negotiators temporarily expanded the Child Tax Credit in the bill from the current $1,000 per child to up to $2,000 per child. Ron Wyden, top Democrat on the Senate tax committee.

But the deduction that millions use in connection with state and local income, property and sales taxes would be capped at $10,000.

Those provisions will be struck from the bill prior to the Senate vote. "This is a tax bill written for massive corporations and wealthy Republican campaign contributors, not for the average American".

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