Politics, Economy, Americas

US House passes major tax bill, Senate ready to vote

'Plan blows a huge hole in the deficit to give tax breaks to corporations and the super-wealthy,' Democrat congressman says

20.12.2017 - Update : 20.12.2017
US House passes major tax bill, Senate ready to vote File Photo

By Safvan Allahverdi


The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the largest tax bill in the U.S. since the 1970's as lawmakers in the Senate prepare to vote on the same measure.

After a series of amendments in a marathon session, some changes scribbled in the bill’s margins, it passed the chamber by a 227-203 vote, marking the largest tax overhaul in 31 years with nearly $1.5 trillion in cuts.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, applauded the vote as “a turning point.

"Today, we are giving the people their money back," Ryan said. "The bottom line is the typical family making the median income in America will get a $2,059 tax cut next year alone and what this is a real relief for families who are living out there to pay check to paycheck."

The bill would permanently lower the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from the existing 35 percent, in what proponents say would boost earnings. The bill also reduces the number of tax brackets from seven to four at 12 percent, 25 percent, 35 percent and 39.6 percent.

Along with all Democrats, 12 Republican representatives from high-tax states including New York, New Jersey and California, opposed the plan on concerns the corporate tax cuts would hurt government revenues and bloat the budget deficit.

Democratic congressman Steve Cohen voted against the “scam” bill, noting its potential to harm the middle-class and the future of social welfare programs.

“The plan blows a huge hole in the deficit to give tax breaks to corporations and the super-wealthy,” Cohen said in a statement. “In so doing, the bill paves the way for future cuts to social safety net programs like Medicare and takes us one step closer to dismantling the Affordable Care Act."

Medicare provides health insurance to the elderly and the Affordable Care Act is the overhaul of the health care systems enacted by former President Barack Obama.

In addition, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said the proposed legislation would make lower-income Americans poorer, while giving massive tax cuts and benefits to the rich.

President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers claim the bill is a boon to the middle class, despite several independent analyses that found it skewed toward corporations and the wealthy.

"Congratulations to Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Kevin Brady, Steve Scalise, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and all great House Republicans who voted in favor of cutting your taxes!," Trump said in a tweet about Republican leaders in the House after the vote.

The bill now moves to the Senate where Republicans are expected to push it through by early Wednesday, using it’s narrow majority in the chamber.

Barring any setbacks there, the legislation will be sent to Trump to sign into law by Christmas Day.

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