Congress Pass Their Tax Bill, Pushing Trump Closer To His First Major Victory

Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool/Bloomberg.
As expected, Congressional Republicans passed their tax bill on the early hours of Wednesday in a 51 to 48 vote along party lines. The legislation now goes back to the House, where representatives will have to vote again since the tax reform plan was amended to comply with the Senate's "Byrd rule."
Both back-to-back votes mean the GOP is expected to send the legislation to President Trump's desk soon, which would give the Trump administration and the Republican party their first major legislative win of 2017.
Congressional Republicans arrived at a final bill on Friday, after rushing the legislation through the House and Senate in a little over a month. In general terms, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts constitutes the largest tax cut for corporations in US history. The legislation would reduce the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% permanently. There bill also represents a large cut for the wealthiest Americans. And while the bill also potentially will lower taxes for many Americans, unlike the corporate tax rate, the individual tax cuts are set to expire by 2025.
Some of the controversial features of the bill didn't make it to its final version: Graduate students and teachers are in the clear, since there won't be changes to the current graduate student tuition waivers or deduction for classroom expenses, and an anti-abortion provision that pro-choice advocates fear set the stage for the claim of a foetus' "personhood" got axed too.
But the legislation still gets rid of the Affordable Care Act individual mandate, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said can lead to 13 million more people being uninsured by 2027 and a 10% increase in premiums almost every year of the next decade.
In a victory for Sen. Marco Rubio and Ivanka Trump, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts also increases the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 and allows parents to obtain a refund of up to $1,400 if the credit amounts to more than their federal income tax liability. But the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities calculates that the credit would leave out millions of low-income families, who would receive only $75 or less due to the expansion.