By Barry Eitel
Republicans on Friday released the details of a sweeping bill aimed at overhauling the U.S. tax code that will be voted on in both the Senate and the House.
They appeared close to having the votes needed to pass the bill after Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Bob Corker said they would support the legislation. Both had expressed concern over the bill earlier in the week.
Republican Senators Susan Collins, Jeff Flake and Mike Lee have not yet voiced support.
In order for the bill to pass the Senate with no support from Democrats, as is expected, Republicans can only afford for two senators to vote against it.
The House is expected to vote on the bill Tuesday, which will be followed by a vote in the Senate.
Both chambers of Congress approved different tax bills in recent weeks; the newly announced bill reconciles the two bills. If approved by Congress, it is expected to be signed into law by President Donald Trump.
The bill released Friday removes the Affordable Care Act penalty for those who do not purchase health insurance. It also immediately lowers the top corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent – a slight increase from the 20 percent outlined in both earlier bills. The bill keeps seven tax brackets for individuals, although the definitions of those brackets are changed. Individuals will be able to continue to deduct state and local taxes, but only up to $10,000.
“I believe that this once-in-a-generation opportunity to make U.S. businesses domestically more productive and internationally more competitive is one we should not miss,” Corker, a prominent critic of Trump, said in a statement about his support.
Corker and other Republican supporters have said the bill will spur economic growth and bring in more jobs. Opponents, including nearly all Democrats, point to analysis from the Congressional Budget Office that says the bill will dramatically increase the national debt. The CBO also has said that removing the individual mandate would result in millions of Americans being uninsured within the next 10 years.