House Republicans Pass Tax Overhaul; Senate Could Vote Tuesday Night

 

The House passed the final version of Republicans' $1.5 trillion tax overhaul on Tuesday afternoon, by a vote of 227-203. Senate Republicans are now set to debate the bill and could vote Tuesday evening.

That means that by the time many Americans go to bed on Tuesday, Congress may have passed Republicans' tax overhaul bill. The House vote fell largely along party lines. No Democrats voted in favor of the bill, as was the case when the House passed its initial version of the bill in November. Twelve House Republicans voted against the bill. The Senate bill also appears likely to be passed largely along party lines. No Democrats voted for the bill in either the House or Senate's initial votes, and the bill did not undergo any major changes in conference committee, where the differences between the House and Senate versions were reconciled.

Just before the vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke, casting the bill as a long-awaited conservative victory that would benefit American workers. "My colleagues, this is a day I have looked forward to for a very long time," he said. "We are about to achieve some big things—things that the cynics have scoffed at for years, decades even."

The bill will cut the top federal corporate tax rate drastically, from 35 percent to 21 percent, and also lower tax rates for many other Americans. According to a new report from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, those tax cuts would overwhelmingly benefit the richest Americans. In 2018, the center estimates, the average household would get a tax cut of $1,610, but the average household earning more than $1 million would get a tax cut of nearly $70,000.

The bill is also set to add nearly $1.5 trillion to deficits over the next decade.

Republicans, eager to score a major legislative win, have pushed their tax overhaul through Congress at breakneck pace. Thus far, 47 days have passed since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was introduced in the House.

That's quick compared to the last time the tax code underwent major changes, with the Tax Reform Act of 1986. President Ronald Reagan signed that bill 323 days after it was first introduced in the House. That's not the only way that this tax overhaul effort differs from the Reagan overhaul in 1986. That one had bipartisan agreement, with "yes" votes from 116 Republicans, along with 176 Democrats.

Story source: NPR