Washington – Congressional Republicans delivered an epic overhaul of US tax laws to President Donald Trump on Wednesday, bringing generous tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans while providing smaller cuts for middle- and low-income families.
In a re-vote due to a last-minute hiccup, the House passed the massive $1.5 trillion tax package that affects everyone’s taxes, but is dominated by breaks for business and higher earners. Democrats call the legislation a boon to the rich that leaves middle-class and working Americans behind.
The vote was 224-201 and came hours after the Senate’s early morning passage along party-lines.
It is the first major overhaul of the nation’s tax laws since 1986.
On Twitter and in White House remarks, Trump hailed the outcome, his own efforts and the work of GOP allies, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who had drawn the President’s wrath for the Senate’s inability this past summer to dismantle the health care law.
I would like to congratulate @SenateMajLdr on having done a fantastic job both strategically & politically on the passing in the Senate of the MASSIVE TAX CUT & Reform Bill. I could have not asked for a better or more talented partner. Our team will go onto many more VICTORIES!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2017
Congressional Republicans have cast the bill as a blessing for the middle class, an argument they will stress in their drive to hold onto their congressional majorities in next year’s midterm elections. But one comment by Trump could complicate their messaging.
In praising the bill, Trump cited the deep cut in the corporate tax rate, from 35% to 21%.
“That’s probably the biggest factor in our plan,” the President said at the White House.
Within minutes, during House debate at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Representative Richard Neal jumped on Trump’s remarks, calling it proof that Republicans were never interested in passing meaningful tax cuts for the middle class.
The Senate used a post-midnight vote on Wednesday morning to approve the measure on a party-line 51-48 tally. Protesters interrupted with chants of, “Kill the bill, don’t kill us” and Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly called for order. Upon passage, Republicans cheered, with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin among them.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted Americans would respond positively to the tax bill.
“If we can’t sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work,” he said.