Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Senate Passes $1.4 Trillion Tax Cut Legislation

SAUL LOEB via Getty Images SAUL LOEB via Getty Images
Theodore Harris | 03 December, 2017, 00:44

Republicans pushed a almost $1.5 trillion tax bill through the Senate early Saturday after a burst of eleventh-hour horse trading, as a party starved all year for a major legislative triumph took a giant step toward giving President Donald Trump one of his top priorities by Christmas.

And even if Democrats went along with these measures as a way to help stabilize Obamacare, opening up spending bills to such legislation is going to inspire all sorts of demands from Republicans as well as Democrats under circumstances where one false step could shut down the government, possibly in the middle of the holidays.

President Donald Trump has stumped in Missouri and met with Republicans on Capitol Hill this week to bolster support for the legislation. Negotiations hit a snag Thursday night after the Senate parliamentarian ruled that Corker's idea of a deficit trigger, which would undo some of the bill's deepest tax cuts if they failed to stimulate the economy, didn't comply with the chamber's rules.

On Friday morning, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, called holdout Sens. Tax reform would be different, promised McConnell and other GOP leaders. Even an official projection of a $1 trillion, 10-year flood of deeper budget deficits couldn't dissuade GOP senators from rallying behind the bill.

As the Senate neared a momentous vote on the sweeping Republican tax bill, Senate Democrats mocked the almost 500-page printed text of the legislation - complaining it was given to them at the last minute before the vote.

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Democrats have been united in their opposition to the bill, calling it a giveaway to the wealthy and corporations. The tax cuts for individuals would expire in 2026 while the corporate tax cuts would be permanent.

Despite obstacles the bill still faced late Thursday, expectations that the tax-cut package would pass had stocks soaring, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing above 24,000 for the first time.

Flake said he'd obtained a "firm commitment" from Republican leaders and the Trump administration to protect beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and changes to a budgeting gimmick that made the bill seem less expensive than it actually is. Another option would be to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent but then have that rate climb incrementally in later years, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The bill is "removed from the reality of what the American people need", said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

He has been adamant for months that the Republican bill not balloon the federal debt. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., earlier Friday said they would back the bill after securing further tax relief for pass-through businesses. That change would match the House bill. "By effectively repealing the regressive Obamacare individual mandate tax, we are putting Americans in charge of their health care and giving them the freedom to choose the best coverage for themselves and their families".

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