WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Senate Republicans have passed the largest U.S. tax overhaul in 30 years early Saturday.
- This is a significant step for President Donald Trump in achieving his first major legislative triumph of his presidency.
- The president intends to sign the tax plan into law before Christmas.
Trump tweeted his thanks to the Senate and House Republicans on Saturday. “Biggest Tax Bill and Tax Cuts in history just passed in the Senate,” he wrote incorrectly.
Though significant, the tax overhaul is not the biggest in history.
“We think this is a great day for the country,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said at a press conference. “Just what the country needs to get growing again.”
According to the Republicans, the tax overhaul would benefit everyone, regardless of income level, and improve the economy.
Vice President Mike Pence, who presided over the Senate, announced the 51-49 vote. Sen. Bob Corker was the only one to cross party lines. He joined the Democrats in opposition
Corker said: “Obviously I’m kind of a dinosaur on the fiscal issues.” The senator fought to keep the bill from aggravating the government’s accumulated $20 trillion in debts.
The Democrats disregarded the bill in favor of wealthy businessmen at the expense of lower-earning people. According to Congress’ nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, the bill’s reductions for many families would be modest. But families earning under $75,000 on average face higher, not lower, taxes by 2027.
Previously suffering from a series of blows, the result was a significant achievement for Republicans, who failed to revoke and replace the Affordable Care Act.
“For the first time since 1986, both the House and the Senate have passed a major overhaul of our nation’s tax code,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said. “Now we will move quickly to a conference committee so we can get a final bill to President Trump’s desk.”
The bill would lower the highest personal income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 38.5 percent. ‘The estate tax levied on a few thousand of the nation’s largest inheritances would be narrowed to affect even fewer.’
The standard deduction would nearly double to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for couples. There will no longer be deductions for state and local income taxes, moving expenses and other items. The per-child tax credit would grow.
The Senate bill would eradicate the “Obamacare” requirement. Industry experts note that would debilitate the law by alleviating pressure on healthier people to buy insurance. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said this would cause premiums to increase and leave 13 million additional people without coverage.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said: “In the waning hours, this bill is tilting further towards businesses and away from families. Every time the choice is between corporations and families, the Republicans choose corporations.”