Tax Bill Passes in the Senate 51-49
The United States Senate passes massive tax reform bill after hours of debate.
Republicans pushed a nearly $1.5 trillion tax bill through the Senate early Saturday after hours of bargaining to get the bill palatable to all of the GOP members. Final Senate approval came on a 51-49 vote with Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the only lawmaker to cross party lines. The biggest change is tax reductions for businesses which most expect will jump start the economy. But the measure also gives tax breaks to most Americans. This is the largest tax overhaul since 1986.
"Big bills are rarely popular. You remember how unpopular 'Obamacare' was when it passed?" Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in an interview, shrugging off polls showing scant public enthusiasm for the measure. He said the legislation would prove to be "just what the country needs to get growing again."
What happens now? The measure now has to go to the House for concurrence on the compromise measures, but it is expected to easily pass in the lower chamber. Once both Houses agree on a compromise, the measure would be headed to President Trump for his signature.
People would be allowed to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes, a demand of Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. That matched a House provision that chamber's leaders included to keep some GOP votes from high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California.
The changes added nearly $300 billion to the tax bill's costs. To pay for that, leaders reduced the number of high-earners who must pay the alternative minimum tax, rather than completely erasing it. They also increased a one-time tax on profits U.S.-based corporations are holding overseas and would require firms to keep paying the business version of the alternative minimum tax.
Deductions for state and local income taxes, moving expenses and other items would vanish, the standard deduction - used by most Americans - would nearly double to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for couples, and the per-child tax credit would grow.
DNC Chairman Tom Perez released the following statement after the measure passed:
This tax scam is an absolute betrayal of America’s working families. While Senate Republicans allowed virtually no debate or time to even read the hundreds of pages of hastily-drafted, handwritten bill text, they did manage to add dozens of new giveaways to special interest lobbyists. Republicans are unilaterally taking billions of dollars away from the middle class and handing it over to their billionaire donors and wealthy corporations while destroying the future of our economy.