Trump's 'Christmas gift': Tax cut heads to Senate for crunch vote
Washington, December 20: Donald Trump is one step closer to a major legislative triumph as the first year of his presidency draws to a close. The Republican-controlled US House of Representatives passed a landmark tax overhaul.
Republicans received zero Democratic support as they passed the contentious USD 1.5-trillion package of tax cuts for businesses and individuals that critics say will particularly benefit the wealthy.
The most comprehensive revamp of the nation's tax code in three decades now heads to the Senate for a decisive vote expected to take place yesterday night.
Twelve House Republicans joined all Democrats in opposition, as Speaker Paul Ryan emphatically declared the bill passed by 227 votes to 203, drawing loud cheers and applause from Republicans in the chamber.
"Today we are giving the people of this country their money back," Ryan told his colleagues, framing the effort as a once-in-a-generation opportunity for change.
"This is their money after all!" After the dramatic failure to repeal the health care law of his predecessor Barack Obama, Trump has pushed hard to get the tax cuts across the finish line.
While Trump has billed the tax package as a "Christmas gift" for the country, one Democrat, the liberal congresswoman Barbara Lee, branded the measure "a slap in the face to low and middle-income families."
The bill shifts to the Senate, where the margin of support appears to be tighter. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said a final vote would likely occur during yesterday night's session.
"Congress is standing at the doorstep of an historic opportunity," said the veteran Senate Republican. Should the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act make it into law it would be the Republicans' first major legislative victory in the 11 months since Trump's inauguration.
The Republican plan is projected to add nearly $1.5 trillion to the national debt over the coming decade, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
But that figure drops to about $1 trillion when economic growth is accounted for. Ryan predicted the bill will give a needed jolt to the economy and to struggling American families.