The Senate passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Thursday, which serves as one of the final steps for Congress to pass historic tax legislation.
The Senate passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 51-49, almost entirely along party lines, with Vice President Mike Pence presiding over the vote. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) voted against the bill, and 48 Democrats voted against the tax reform legislation as well.
Reluctant Republican senators such as Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) voted for the bill after last minute changes were made. Flake received a commitment from Republican leadership and the White House that they would pursue a permanent solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) illegal aliens, while Collins received a provision that would keep the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT).
The Senate agreed earlier this month to move forward on the motion, 52-48, to proceed on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Senate Budget Committee passed tax reform legislation on Tuesday, even after Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) expressed skepticism about the bill’s current form. Corker reported that he was reassured about the Senate bill including a “fiscal trigger” that will dial back the tax cuts should the tax bill fall short of revenue projections.
The Senate bill retains the current income tax system’s seven brackets, while the House version collapses the seven brackets into four. The wealthiest Americans would have their income tax fall to 38.5 percent, while the lowest tax bracket will fall to ten percent. Similar to the House tax bill, the Senate version will double the standard deduction for individuals to $12,000, and $24,000 for married couples. The Senate bill also raises the child tax credit from $1,000 per child to $1,650.
Unlike the House draft, the Senate tax bill eliminates Obamacare’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance.
The House passed their version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act earlier in November.
Now that the Senate passed their version of the tax reform legislation, the House and Senate will have to convene a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the two bills. Once the two chambers of Congress draft a unified bill, the House and Senate will have to pass the same bill to send the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to President Donald Trump’s desk to sign the bill into law.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is desperate to pass tax reform legislation after failing on multiple occasions to repeal Obamacare. Breitbart News reported that Mitch McConnell’s future rides on passing tax reform in the face of a populist-nationalist uprising in the 2018 midterm elections.
President Donald Trump said that passing the tax reform bill would ensure a “Merry Christmas” for the country.
Trump declared, “This week’s vote can be the beginning of the next great chapter for the American worker.”