Senate Passes Historic Sweeping Tax Reform
by Benjy Sarlin
WASHINGTON â€” Congress approved a sweeping $1.5 trillion tax bill on Wednesday that slashes rates for corporations, provides new breaks for private businesses and reorganizes the individual tax code.
The Senate passed the GOP bill early Wednesday morning and the House then voted on it for a second time to fix technical problems with the legislation, the final step before it’s sent to President Donald Trump for his signature. No Democrats in either the House or Senate backed the measure.
It is the president’s first significant legislative accomplishment and the biggest tax overhaul in a generation.
Trump, who praised the Republican bill as a “historic victory for the American people” at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, is holding an event at the White House in the afternoon with GOP members of the House and Senate to celebrate passage, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. The president is expected to sign the bill at a later date.
Trump tweeted Wednesday that the tax cuts are “so large and so meaningful,” adding: “This is a case where the results will speak for themselves, starting very soon. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!”
The Republican bill was initially approved on a 227-203 vote in the House Tuesday, with no Democrats supporting it. Twelve Republicans also voted against the measure.
With Vice President Mike Pence presiding and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on hand, the Senate then voted 51-48 in favor of the bill. Again, with no Democratic support.
“After eight straight years of slow growth and underperformance, America is ready to take off,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said following the vote.
The bill, the product of negotiations between Republicans in the House and Senate, achieves longtime Republican goals, including a permanent reduction in the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent that supporters argue will make American business more competitive overseas.
Many pass-through businesses also receive a more complicated 20 percent deduction, which became a subject of fierce debate after the final bill added a provision likely to benefit real estate companies like Trump’s.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., lauded the bill during an interview with NBC’s “Today” on Wednesday morning, reiterating the GOP’s claim that cutting the corporate tax rate would allow American companies to create new jobs with the savings and rejecting criticism that companies would merely pocket the savings.
“It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of how much they benefit,” he said.
The bill will “put the American economy in a better position,” Ryan said, because “workers benefit, wages go up.”
“This is a big tax cut for families as well,” he said.
A day earlier, speaking on the House floor moments before the vote, Ryan said the legislation will “help hard-working Americans who have been left behind for too long.”
“Today, we are giving the people their money back,” he said, adding that a typical family would get a $2,059 tax cut next year.
Democrats opposed bill as a boon to the wealthy while offering little for the middle class , with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., calling it “the worst bill to ever come to the floor of the House.”