Final Tax Bill: Biggest Cuts for the Middle

Tennessee on Capitol Hill this month. Credit Susan Walsh  Associated Press

"This is about expanding opportunity to people who are striving to make the most of their lives", House Speaker PaulRyan, R-Wis., said before the vote Tuesday. "So we simply don't know for sure".

GOP holdouts, Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Marco Rubio (R-Florida) announced they will vote in favor, after securing concessions from fellow lawmakers. No Senate Democrats are expected to vote for it, meaning Republicans can lose only two of their 52 members for the bill to pass (Vice President Mike Pence would serve as a tiebreaker if there's a 50-50 vote). Sen. The bill could soon become law, with a Senate vote expected Tuesday night. "Here's what we set out to do: Take money out of Washington's pockets and put it pack in the pockets of middle-class Americans".

Republicans in the House of Representatives voted largely along party lines on Tuesday to approve a tax reform bill, bringing it one step closer to becoming the most sweeping overhaul of the tax code in more than 30 years.

Under the legislation, the federal corporate tax rate would fall from 35 percent to 21 percent - a notch up from the 20 percent in previous versions - and the maximum individual income tax rate would drop from 39.6 percent to 37 percent. Other businesses would receive large cuts as well. Biggest Tax Cuts and Reform EVER passed. The largest cuts would go to the wealthy, but, in 2018, almost all Americans will see their income tax go down, according to a nonpartisan analysis of the final plan released Monday. All individual tax breaks expire at the end of 2025, while the corporate tax reductions will remain.

Senate rules require 10 hours of debate on the bill, divided equally between Republicans and Democrats. It would restructure a complicated system of deductions, shrinking some and expanding others.

The $1,000-per-child tax credit doubles to $2,000, with up to $1,400 available in IRS refunds for families who owe little or no taxes.

Despite his protest to the contrary, Trump would nearly certainly benefit from this bill, in part because it bestows benefits on real estate partnerships, although no one knows precisely how much because he never released his tax returns. Under the bill, a couple could pass on up to $22 million in assets without paying the tax. It allows oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and repeals a federal fine imposed on Americans under Obamacare for not obtaining health insurance coverage, a change that could undermine the 2010 health-care law formally known as the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans argue that corporations, flush with cash, will create more jobs and boost the economy.

The Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress's official tax scorekeeper, projected an earlier version of the bill would add $1 trillion to the deficit over a decade, even when projected economic growth is taken into account. The tax cuts for individuals are temporary, expiring in 2026. Speaking in front of the White House, she said Democratic lawmakers should have been "banging down the door of the building behind me to be part of this process".

Democrats unanimously oppose the plan but lack the votes to block it in either chamber.

The complex measure takes money away from millions of families at the same time as it provides benefits, which has made it hard for most people to understand how it will affect them. The bill doesn't eliminate many loopholes and special provisions as they promised, including the carried-interest loophole that benefits private equity and hedge fund managers, some of the wealthiest earners in America.

In addition to the complexity and uncertain outcomes of the bill for individual families, another challenge is that benefits will be hard to discern for many until April 2019, when the 2018 tax filings are due. The "mudfest" on television makes it unpopular, he said, but when people see the tax plan's results, it will gain public support.

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