Final tax reform bill passes House, now moves to Senate

Marcus Newton
December 20, 2017

The final vote in the House was 227-203 with a vote in the U.S. Senate expected to soon follow.

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.

Passage of the tax reform bill would deliver Trump and congressional Republicans a significant victory in 2017 and allow the president to stick to his promise to enact tax relief before the end of the year.

The approval of the legislation, which President Donald Trump has pledged to sign, comes even though recent polls show a majority of Americans disapprove of the bill.

By the time many Americans go to bed on Tuesday, Congress may have passed Republicans' tax overhaul bill.

House Speaker Paul Ryan helped lead the negotiations over the tax reform bill, which was approved by his chamber on Tuesday.

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 USA national debt.

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"It's an honor to be speaker of the House to see this", Ryan said at a press conference Tuesday before the vote.

The bill lowers the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, a reduction hailed by the financial services industry.

The plan - which maintains the same number of income tax brackets as under current law but adjusts their parameters - cuts individual tax rates, including slashing the top rate for the highest earners from 39.6% to 37% and shifting the top bracket up slightly to income over $600,000 for people filing jointly or $500,000 for single filers. "Results are going to make this popular", he said. Thus far, 47 days have passed since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was introduced in the House. Though the plan includes a provision that increases the child tax refund, it will, like the rest of it, mostly benefit rich families.

The measure also repeals Obamacare's individual mandate, which requires people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. The debt is expected to soar by at least $1 trillion more than it would without the tax measure, according to projections.

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

Vice-President Mike Pence took the precaution of rescheduling a trip to Egypt and Israel for January so he would be on hand this week in case his tie-breaking voting power is needed to ensure Senate passage of the bill.

The tax bill also removes both student loan interest deduction and employer-provided educational assistance-two hits that disproportionately affect women, who statistically carry more educational debt. Republican Sen. Jeff Flake was still uncommitted late on Monday. Sen.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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