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US House, Senate pass Trumps tax reform bill

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: December 20, 2017  | 22:13 IST

By Lalit K Jha

Washington, Dec 20 (PTI) In a major political victory for US President Donald Trump, the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed his landmark tax reform bill which promises significant cuts to American households and slash to business tax.

The USD 1.5 trillion tax bill needs to be passed by House of Representatives before it can be sent to the White House for the President Donald Trump to sign it into law.

In both the Senate and the House, the bill was passed on a partisan basis, with Democratic lawmakers voting against it.

The Senate voted after mid-night to pass the bill by 51 to 48 votes. In the House it was passed by 227 to 203 votes.

"After years of work, we are going to enact the most sweeping, pro-growth overhaul of our tax code in a generation. Americans are going to see relief almost immediately in the form of bigger paychecks and lower taxes," said Congressman Paul Ryan, Speaker of the US House of Representatives.

Vice President Mike Pence described the vote as a "historic win" for the American people as the Senate voted to deliver working families and job creators a tax cut for Christmas.

President "Trump kept his promise to deliver a middle- class miracle for millions of hard-working Americans - a great day for the American people!" he said.

Once enacted, the legislation will represent the most drastic changes to the US tax code since 1986.

This is seen as a first legislative victory of Trump in the first year of his presidency.

The bill is expected to clear all hurdles by tonight.

The White House has not indicated yet as to when Trump plans to sign the bill.

However, Trumps daily schedule released to the media is quite open. After the Cabinet meeting in the morning, there is nothing on his schedule so far.

Senator Rob Portman said the bill will cut taxes for middle-class families, reform business tax code to create more jobs and higher wages for workers, and update international tax code to encourage jobs and investments in America.

"This is the first time Congress has passed comprehensive tax reform legislation in 31 years," he said.

The Democrats were highly critical of the tax reform bill.

"The American people have been robbed of the substantive and exhaustive debate in Congress they deserve on a USD 1.5 trillion bill that will shake up our entire economy and cripple our nations spending power for decades to come," said Senator Tom Carper.

According to Wall Street Journal, the tax plan offers deep tax cuts for businesses, lower rates for many individuals and a narrower estate tax. Corporate shareholders, business owners and most households will win, at least in the first few years.

"But there will be losers, too, including some households living in regions where state and local taxes are high. Most of the tax cuts will take effect in January, and many workers will see bigger paychecks from reduced tax withholding by February," the daily said.

The wealthy would see far more relief than the middle class and working poor, the Washington Post said.

The plan would revise nearly every part of the tax system by lowering income tax rates at all levels and restructuring deductions, it added.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described it as once-in-a-generation opportunity.

"It will deliver historic tax relief to American families. It will help put our country on a trajectory toward more innovation and better paying jobs. It will repeal an unfair tax at the center of ObamaCare and will help America achieve greater energy security," he said. PTI LKJ NSA MRJ MRJ

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