icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
20 Dec, 2017 17:55

This time for real: House approves tax overhaul bill

This time for real: House approves tax overhaul bill

The US House of Representatives voted again to pass a massive tax overhaul bill, after three minor provisions were ruled to be in violation of Senate rules, forcing a second vote.

The final tally was 224 votes in favor of the bill and 201 against, with 12 Republicans joining the Democrats in opposition.

The House first approved the bill on Tuesday afternoon, followed by a Senate vote early Wednesday morning. However, the Democrats convinced the Senate parliamentarian that several clauses in the bill were in violation of reconciliation rules, forcing it back to the House.

Republicans packaged the bill under the budget reconciliation rules, in order to prevent the Democrats from stopping it with a Senate filibuster. This left it vulnerable to procedural challenges, however.

One of the objections regarded the bill’s name, as the Democrats said ‘Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’ does not pertain to the budget. Another clause would have allowed qualified tuition plans - also known as 529 savings accounts - to be applied to homeschooling. The third issue concerned the conditions under which private universities would be exempt from a tax on endowments.

Following the early morning Senate vote, President Donald Trump announced there would be a White House press conference if the House approves the bill, as expected.

“The United States Senate just passed the biggest in history Tax Cut and Reform Bill. Terrible Individual Mandate (ObamaCare)Repealed. Goes to the House tomorrow morning for final vote. If approved, there will be a News Conference at The White House at approximately 1:00 P.M.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) praised the passage of the bill. “After years of work, dozens of hearings, and an open process, we passed an historic overhaul of our nation’s tax code. It will deliver tax reform to families and small businesses across the nation.”

The bill’s passage was met with opposition from Democratic senators and chants of “kill the bill” by protesters.

“The bill that the Republicans jammed through the Senate tonight isn’t tax reform,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts). “It’s a heist. Let's call this out for what it is: Government for sale.”

Her colleague Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) called it a “giant handout for the rich and powerful.”

“There is no shame left in Washington when the biggest piece of legislation passed by this Republican Congress is literally a windfall for their wealthy donors,” said Murphy.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) called the bill an “utter disgrace.”

Republican lawmakers gathered at the White House on Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the bill's passage, however, called the legislation historic.

“President Donald Trump delivered a great victory for the American people," Vice President Mike Pence said at the ceremony. "Merry Christmas, America."

The bill will be delivered to Trump’s desk for final approval before the Christmas holiday. He may wait until after the new year to sign it, according to Fox Business.