It’s a done deal: Congress wraps up massive tax package

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., center, leaves the House Chamber after voting on the Republican tax bill, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. | Associated Press photo by Jacquelyn Martin, St. George News

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (AP) — Congressional Republicans delivered an epic overhaul of U.S. 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.

Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, speaks with a reporter just before passage of the Republican tax reform bill in the House of Representatives, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017 | Associated Press photo by J. Scott Applewhite, St. George News

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said he believes the American public will remember this historic moment but not for the reasons the Democratic Party is saying they will.

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.

Republicans cheered when the vote tally hit the magic number for passage, and again when the final vote was announced. One Democrat yelled, “Do over!”

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.

“Our team will go onto many more VICTORIES!” Trump tweeted.

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 percent to 21 percent.

“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, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., jumped on Trump’s remarks, calling it proof that Republicans were never interested in passing meaningful tax cuts for the middle class.

In a statement, Trump said: “By cutting taxes and reforming the broken system, we are now pouring rocket fuel into the engine of our economy.”

The Senate used a post-midnight vote Wednesday morning to approve the measure on a party-line 51-48 tally. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., 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.

In an eleventh-hour hiccup Tuesday, the Senate parliamentarian found that three minor provisions violated Senate rules, forcing lawmakers to strip them out.

House Republicans had passed the bill Tuesday with all voting Democrats in opposition. Because of the language the Senate removed, the House had to revisit the measure Wednesday because each chamber must approve identical legislation before it can be signed into law.

“People have been hit by the media and the Democrats on their TV screen that everyone is getting a big tax increase, and that’s just not the case,” Ryan said Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Hatch, who is also the Senate Finance Committee Chairman, echoed some of these sentiments in a press conference Tuesday.

“The Democrats have said ‘the American people will remember this night,’” he said. “I hope they do. Because we’ve passed one of the most important tax cuts in this country’s history.”

Hatch added the following:

With this legislation, we maintained our commitment to creating a tax code that is based in simplicity and fairness. We’re lowering rates across the board for the American people. We’re ensuring businesses, both small and large, can better compete and bring more jobs and investment back home. And, we’re remaking the tax code in way that will allow more individuals and families invest in their future. We should all be proud of this historic moment, which puts us a stone’s throw away from helping hardworking Americans get bigger paychecks, better jobs and fairer taxes.

Starting next year, families making between $50,000 and $75,000 will get average tax cuts of $890, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Families making between $100,000 and $200,000 would get average tax cuts of $2,260, while families making more than $1 million would get average tax cuts of nearly $70,000, according to the analysis.

But if the cuts for individuals are allowed to expire, most Americans — those making less than $75,000 — would see tax increases in 2027, according to congressional estimates.

Ryan said Wednesday the GOP is willing to risk running up deficits with the aim of getting a higher annual economic growth rate.

Trump is aching for a big political victory after 11 months of legislative failures and nonstarters. The president tweeted his congratulations to GOP leaders and to “all great House Republicans who voted in favor of cutting your taxes!”

Congressional Republicans, who faltered badly in trying to dismantle Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, see passage of the tax bill as crucial to proving to Americans they can govern — and imperative for holding onto House and Senate majorities in next year’s midterm elections.

“The proof will be in the paychecks,” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said during the Senate’s nighttime debate. “This is real tax relief, and it’s needed.”

Not so, said the top Senate Democrat as the long, late hours led to testy moments Tuesday night.

We believe you are messing up America,” New York Sen. Chuck Schumer told Republicans, chiding them for not listening to his remarks.

The GOP has repeatedly argued the bill will spur economic growth as corporations, flush with cash, increase wages and hire more workers. But many voters in surveys see the legislation as a boost to the wealthy, such as Trump and his family, and a minor gain at best for the middle class.

Tax cuts for corporations would be permanent while the cuts for individuals would expire in 2026 to comply with Senate budget rules. The tax cuts would take effect in January, and workers would start to see changes in the amount of taxes withheld from their paychecks in February.

The top tax rate for well-off individuals would be lowered from 39.6 percent to 37 percent.

The legislation repeals an important part of the 2010 health care law — the requirement that all Americans carry health insurance or face a penalty — as the GOP looks to unravel the law it failed to repeal and replace this past summer. It also allows oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The $1,000-per-child tax credit doubles to $2,000, with up to $1,400 available in IRS refunds for families that owe little or no taxes.

The bill is projected to add $1.46 trillion to the nation’s debt over a decade. GOP lawmakers say they expect a future Congress to continue the tax cuts so they won’t expire. That would drive up deficits even further.

Written by STEPHEN OHLEMACHER and MARCY GORDON, Associated Press.

Associated Press writers Matthew Daly, Kevin Freking and Alan Fram contributed to this report.

St. George News contributed to this report with information provided by the office of Sen. Orrin Hatch.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press as AP portions. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

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26 Comments

  • comments December 20, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Maybe someday you Trumpers will catch on. Or will it take nearly the full 8 years as it did with baby Bush II.

    • mesaman December 20, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      Not to worry, comments. Since you’ve never had a job that pays more than minimum wage you can be on the welfare roles the rest of your life.

  • jh9000 December 20, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    Adding to the deficit in order to give rich dudes and corporations a tax break. Glad I don’t have kids to inherit the bill, and plenty of money so I can take advantage of the new corporate loopholes by purchasing more real estate and making a killing as a landlord. You poor/middle class folks who vote Republican will learn eventually, or not, but until then I’ll gladly keep getting richer at your expense.

    • Kyle L. December 20, 2017 at 4:58 pm

      The winter storm warning must be making you feel more comfortable but you still lack any sense of logic. If you are so worried about the deficit why don’t we talk about the last eight years, under your parties president and his agenda, and the ten trillion dollars that he added to the national debt? Socialism vs capitalism. Obama vs Trump.

      • comments December 20, 2017 at 6:20 pm

        and here your beloved little trump just added a trillion more. see the irony…..

        • Kyle L. December 20, 2017 at 8:05 pm

          The 1.5 trillion is a projection not an actual number like the ten trillion that Obummer added. Go stand by the heater and maybe you will melt into something useful.

          • comments December 20, 2017 at 10:59 pm

            whiny, dumb, and illogical. pretty well sums up you trumpites

          • Kyle L. December 22, 2017 at 7:36 pm

            Unable to respond to logical arguments pretty much sums up you libs.

        • John December 21, 2017 at 12:19 pm

          comments, HAHAHA!! Sounds like you need a little lotion to put on that burn. Are you that midget that gets a kick out of standing in the back of crowded elevators? It would explain a lot if you are !

  • utahdiablo December 20, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Most folks making $75 K and lower will see $1K to $2.5 K back in their pocket next year, but then each year it gets less until it ends completely in 10 years, while the $75K and over $750K crowd will see a much larger tax break, which will remain in place year after year…oh well, Bush & Obama added $20 Trillion in their 16 years, so another $1.5 Trillion is no sweat….just try to imagine trying to ever get that ever paid down….sure is nice that China, Russia, heck, anyone can come in and buy up as much land and real estate that they want huh? Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside….

  • John December 21, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    It just amazes me how many people buy the lies of the democrats and the main stream liberal media. Maybe they should actually look the real Tax Bill over instead of listening to the ones who are really getting their allowances cut. The Democrats will have quite quite a cut to their wasteful vote stealing giveaways, that’s what all the crying is really about. But most of the deniers need to get their news filtered through the cesspool of Fake news because that’s the only place they bother to look !

    • jaybird December 21, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      God, John, you really are a living example of buying everything you hear on RT/Fox, a real live propoganda log for Trump’s lies. I thought Trump was going to “drain the swamp” except he IS the swamp; he and the Greedy Ol’ Pervs. Do the math, if you can count, single = $12000 standard deduction, less $4000 personal exemption really equals $8000, less than what you might get from itemizing and definitely less than what your GOP is telling you. Oh yeah, this bill also takes the deductions away. There are calculators online to find out what you will REALLY make, $500 for a married couple making $70/year. WOW! That might even pay for the increase in your net neutrality bills. Dummy.

      • John December 21, 2017 at 3:40 pm

        hahahahahaha!! why don’t you read the bill instead of parrotting what cryin chuck schumer said?.. you really are a know nothing liberal bird brain

      • John December 21, 2017 at 3:54 pm

        Read this jackwagon !! your fake examples are not in this bill.. you got sucker punched again by the mainstream media … moron…https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/15/us/politics/final-republican-tax-bill-cuts.html

        • jaybird December 21, 2017 at 7:53 pm

          Pass this along, …, call your senator Mike Lee and just ask him. Precisely bonehead, did the new bill exclude personal exemptions of $4000 each person in the household. But people like you, John, dont have the courage to actually want to keep others in the dark. Go blow blowhard. Ed. ellipsis

          • John December 21, 2017 at 8:52 pm

            no..i actually read the bill..whats the matter is your welfare getting cut?, you lazy democrat freeloader

          • John December 21, 2017 at 9:21 pm

            jackburd,, read this you freeloading moron !
            The overhaul drops the corporate rate to 21 percent, from 35 percent, as Republicans seek to boost American competitiveness and spur economic growth. In addition, it provides a tax break to owners of pass-through businesses, whose profits are taxed through the individual code.

            The bill also cuts taxes for individuals, including a lower top rate of 37 percent, down from 39.6 percent. It nearly doubles the standard deduction and doubles the child tax credit, and it also doubles the size of inheritances shielded from estate taxation, to $22 million for married couples. But Republicans set the individual tax cuts to expire after 2025 in order to make the bill comply with budget rules.
            The bill also eliminates the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most people have health insurance or pay a penalty, known as the individual mandate, providing Republicans with a victory on health care after their previous failure to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health law.
            and you should also learn simple math you ADD the dependent deduction to the standard deduction .. but it doesn’t matter, freeloaders like you don’t pay taxes anyway…sorry but the crap you are trying to pass off just is not anywhere in the bill..

  • ladybugavenger December 21, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    The only way I can have money in my pocket is by lowering health care cost and premiums. I spend $214 a month on insurance premium for myself witth a 70/30 split and a $6,000 deduction…cant really afford a doctor visit. But if I need a heart transplant or an iron lung it will come in handy.

    • ladybugavenger December 21, 2017 at 8:01 pm

      Oh! The insurance is through my employer, not obamacare. Obama care would have cost me about the same, if not more.
      Lower cost! More money in my pocket 😁
      Lower prices! More money in my pocket 😁
      Lower insurance rates! More money in my pocket! 😁But noooooo everyone raises car, home, health insurance, gas prices, electricity, housing….and wages stay the same….shoot, I’m just gonna go win the lottery

      Lowering taxes hmmmm I’m not going to benefit from that, I get refunds at tax time! I guess I’ll see next year.

  • jaybird December 21, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Hey, john, douchbag, read this. You might just learn how wrong your rockhead ideas are. But you dont have the courage. Slacker.
    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/20/families-will-feel-the-pain-of-losing-this-tax-break.html

    • John December 21, 2017 at 10:06 pm

      jack wad that’s just more garbage from a fake news outlet,, read the bill you moron!.. or you just cant handle the truth you brainwashed sbowflake!

    • John December 21, 2017 at 10:08 pm

      citing liberal fake news sites just backs up your stupidity..READ THE BILL YOU Brainless UNEMPLOYED LIBTARD…

    • John December 21, 2017 at 10:13 pm

      You have proved it, You are the fart sniffing dwarf that hangs out in the back of crowded elevators. I know who you are and no I wont give any more money to switchpoint just because you live there. Until they evict you they won’t be getting another cent from me. And I hope your free methadone treatment gets a big fund cut…Happy withdrawal ADDICT..

  • jaybird December 22, 2017 at 7:55 am

    John I realize you’re lost and a fool but anyone else who hasnt lived life by turning to meth living in hovel after 50, calling CNBC, the financial channel fake news only reinforces your obvious ignorance. Get this dingbat, you dont help your bottom line $ to get ahead if you DONT CHECK YOUR DEBT TO INCOME RATIO. The republicans have given the wealthy, who dont need it, a big tax break, reducing the national income level. If they really wanted to help, they would LIWER THE DEBT AND INCREASE THE INCOME. Right now it looks more like they are Increasing the debt and relying on working Americans’ income taxes to pay tge debt down. Never worked before and wont work now. Get ready for the depression. Donald Trump loves spending YOUR $, has claimed bankruptcy 4 times, relies on Russian loans keeping his family afloat, and will leave you flat broke in the end. Sad part, you probably live on SSI.

    • John December 22, 2017 at 10:12 am

      I’m not the one who relies on liberal blogs and fake news outlets like you do.Yuor comments tell the world that you have not READ THE REAL BILL but are relying on the biased lies of the main stream media and butt hurt democrats. You are so wrong ..nothing you have used as an example is anywhere in the bill…I know , you read the CNN paraphrased version. ! I was brought up not to make fun of the mentally challenged , But in your case I will make an exception. Sorry your methadone is getting cut off and you won’t be able to get anymore didanosine at the expense of taxpayers. Go back to your mommy’s basement , she has a whole catalog of my little bernie pony coloring books for you..You really should read the bill, and you might begin to understand how fake news works.. Stop commenting until you do, You are looking like another whiny snowflake who nobody can take seriously ..WAAAH WAAAAH WAAAAH!

  • Kyle L. December 22, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Wait a year and then comment. We have given Obummer eight years with no returns. How about we start to think of life in a way that is reasonable. If you have made enough money to buy whatever you want you probably owe some taxes. If you are just scrapping by and not paying anything you probably still owe something otherwise you are relying on the rich to pay for your use of publicly purchased things. Stop expecting others to pay your share and start thinking what you can do to pay your part to repay what this country has enabled you to do and accomplish.

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