House Republicans pass tax measure

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — House Republicans voted to approve a sweeping tax reform bill — moving a step closer to sending President Donald Trump the party’s first bona fide legislative accomplishment.

The vote was 227 to 203.

The Senate is expected to pass the tax bill later on Tuesday.

If the legislation survives any potential Democratic procedural challenges in the upper chamber, the president could sign the bill as early as Wednesday.

With the GOP unable to send the American Health Care Act to the White House, passage of the tax overhaul would finally furnish a decisive legislative victory for the president, closing out one of Trump’s chief campaign promises just before Christmas.

But Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican who’d planned to vote against the plan, said earlier that Republican voters in his district won’t count the bill as a win for the president.

“People who voted for Trump are very disappointed,” King told reporters Monday evening. “It’s certainly unpopular in my district. That’s all I’m hearing from Republicans.”

The legislation maintains seven tax brackets, with the country’s wealthiest earners enjoying a top-rate decrease from 39.6 percent to 37 percent. It also dramatically cuts the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

Republicans crafted the bill with the aim to simplify the tax code by cutting loopholes for special interests. But the new rules preserve many popular deductions, such as for mortgage interest, student loans, adoptions and charitable giving.

The measure also repeals Obamacare’s individual mandate, which requires people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. That could lead to 13 million more Americans without health insurance, according to the Congressional Budget Office, though it would save $338 billion in federal health insurance subsidy payments over the next decade.

The bill, which carries an estimated $1.5 trillion price tag over 10 years, is not expected to win any Democratic support. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi points to a new analysis from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center that predicts 86 million people would see a tax increase compared to current law by 2027, while 83 percent of the anticipated benefits would be reaped by the wealthiest one percent of taxpayers.

“Republicans will vote to let the wealthiest one percent steal the future of the middle class in America,” Pelosi, D-Calif., stated prior to the vote. “The GOP tax bill will go down as one of the most scandalous, obscene acts of plutocracy ever.”

Rep. Kevin Brady, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said that analyses focusing on the back end of the 10-year window are misleading because many of the individual tax breaks expire in eight years.

“That’s just cherry-picking the numbers,” Brady said. “Look, we’ve just finished eight years of Washington spending your money. Let’s try eight years of you spending your money and making America competitive and then a future Congress can decide is that right for this country. My guess is they’re going to say people should keep more of what they earn.”

President Trump tweeted ahead of the vote Tuesday saying that the Tax Cut Bill will be the “biggest tax cuts and reform EVER passed” and is “totally understood and appreciated in scope and size.”

PolitiFact rated the president’s previous similar claims about the “biggest tax cuts” as “false.”

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