House Passes Tax Bill in Major Step Toward Overhaul
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans rammed a near $1.5 trillion package overhauling corporate and personal taxes through the House on Thursday, edging President Donald Trump and the GOP toward their first big legislative triumph in a year in which they and their voters expected much more.
The near party-line 227-205 vote came as Democrats on the other side of the Capitol pointed to new estimates showing the Senate version of the plan would boost future taxes on lower and middle-income Americans. Those projections, coupled with complaints by some GOP senators about their chamber’s proposal, suggest party leaders still face a challenge in crafting a measure that can make it through Congress over solid Democratic opposition.
House passage raised GOP hopes that Trump would be able to claim a big victory in a year highlighted so far by the Senate crash of the party’s effort to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law. The first major tax rewrite in three decades has been a career-long goal of countless Republicans politicians, who tout the reductions as a boon to families, businesses and the entire economy .
“Passing this bill is the single biggest thing we can do to grow the economy, to restore opportunity and help those middle income families who are struggling,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
Thirteen Republicans — all but one from high-tax California, New York and New Jersey — voted “no” because the plan would erase tax deductions for state and local income and sales taxes and limit property tax deductions to $10,000. Defectors included House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., who said the measure would “hurt New Jersey families.”
Democrats derided the plan as a scheme to help the rich but do little for others.
“Republicans have brought forth a bill that is pillaging the middle class to pad the pockets of the wealthiest and hand tax breaks to corporations shipping jobs out of America,” declared House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
Both the House and Senate versions of the legislation would cut the 35 percent corporate tax rate to 20 percent, while reducing some personal taxpayers’ rates and erasing and shrinking deductions for individuals. Projected federal deficits would grow by $1.5 trillion over the coming decade.
Before the vote, Trump urged House Republicans at the Capitol to approve the bill, though it was clear beforehand that they had the votes.
“He told us that we have this once-in-a lifetime opportunity to do something really bold, and he reminded us that is why we seek these offices,” Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas said of the closed-door rally.
While House Republicans celebrated, the news was less encouraging for the version making its way through the Senate Finance Committee.
New numbers from Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation showed that beginning in 2021, many families earning under $30,000 annually would face higher taxes under the Senate package. By 2027, families making less than $75,000 would face tax boosts while those making more would enjoy lower levies.
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, top Democrat on the Finance panel, said the projections showed the Senate bill was “just shameful” because middle-class families would “get hammered.”
Republicans attributed the new figures to two Senate provisions.