House passes tax overhaul bill, sending it to president

Updated December 20, 2017 - 6:29 pm

WASHINGTON — Congress on Wednesday passed the most significant overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years, delivering a landmark legislative victory to President Donald Trump and the Republicans that had once seemed impossible for the fractured party.

The sweeping measure imprints a clear conservative vision on the tax code that will affect nearly every household and business. Corporations will see a massive tax cut, while most Americans will see temporary savings of various sizes. And in a move that may prove politically perilous, Republicans delivered the biggest gains to the wealthy.

The bill’s passage comes after Republicans had consolidated their hold in Washington but became entangled in a string of high-profile failures during their first year in power. This time, the GOP was able to hold together, driven in part by fear of ending the year without a single major legislative achievement.

The passage kicks off an intense period of uncertainty for consumers and businesses as both scramble to understand the changes and take advantage of the end of the calendar year to minimize tax bills. Some local governments said they were flooded with calls from homeowners seeking to pay their 2018 property taxes this year to avoid a cap on real estate tax deductions that will begin next year.

The legislation also will play a huge role in the coming campaigns for the 2018 midterm elections. Republicans hope their plan will set off a flurry of economic growth and win over a public that polls suggest is deeply skeptical. Democrats, meanwhile, plan to characterize the bill as a giveaway to the wealthy, in hopes that the message will help them retake Congress in November.

At the White House on Wednesday, Republicans were united in ways they haven’t been at any point during the Trump presidency, rebounding from internal divisions that plagued them when they sought to overhaul the nation’s health-care laws.

“We’re going to see something that’s going to be very special. We’re bringing the entrepreneur back into this country,” Trump said at the White House, flanked by dozens of Republicans. “We’re getting rid of all the knots and all the ties, and ultimately what does it mean? It means jobs, jobs, jobs.”

After a months-long effort that stalled several times, the final votes Wednesday and Tuesday night proceeded smoothly. Through cajoling, threats and concessions, Republican leaders had secured support from an overwhelming majority of their members. All but 12 House GOP members voted for the bill and zero Senate Republicans voted against it, enough to overcome Democrats’ unanimous opposition.

The core of the plan is a massive and permanent cut to the corporate tax, lowering the rate to 21 percent from 35 percent, but it also includes new tax breaks for other businesses and temporary cuts to individual income tax rates at all levels.

The bill also doubles what’s known as the “standard deduction,” which many middle-class and working-class Americans use to reduce their tax payments. It greatly expands a child tax credit, although families with higher incomes see more of the increase than those who make less. But it would reduce deductions that new home buyers can take for mortgage interest payments and scale back deductions Americans can take for taxes paid to state and local governments.

The bill also would reduce the estate tax, a levy on inheritances charged only to the wealthiest Americans. Under the bill, a couple could pass on up to $22 million in assets without the beneficiaries having to pay the tax. The plan also exempts more families from the alternative-minimum tax and repeal an alternative-minimum tax for corporations.

In furious floor speeches ahead of the votes, lawmakers previewed the coming struggle over the public’s perception of the measure that will continue through the midterm elections.

Republicans promised their plan would raise the fortunes of the middle class through rates cuts and an avalanche of economic growth, promising higher wages. Democrats cited nonpartisan analyses that found the bulk of the bill’s benefits go to corporations and the wealthy, accusing the GOP of an act of class welfare that will bust the federal budget while enriching corporations and billionaire donors.

“This bill is not centered on a middle-class tax cut,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said. “The fleeting sugar high this plan offers some middle-class families is just a distraction from its giveaways to multinational corporations and powerful donors.”

Much of how the bill will ultimately affect the middle class depends on decisions that have not yet been made. In 2018, the vast majority of Americans would see their taxes go down.

In the bill’s later years, however, many of the individual tax cuts are set to expire, leaving a broad swath of Americans paying more than they do right now. Republicans promise that a future Congress will intervene to prevent that tax hike from happening, while Democrats have questioned why the GOP procured a permanent cut for corporations while subjecting the middle class to years of uncertainty.

Equally in dispute is the bill’s ultimate impact on the nation’s finances. Congress’s official tax scorekeeper found that the plan would add more than $1 trillion to the deficit over 10 years, even after economic growth is taken into account. That figure would climb sharply if the individual tax cuts are extended.

Republicans dispute that analysis, arguing that surging economic growth will reduce or even eliminate their plan’s impact on the deficit. Democrats, meanwhile, have accused the GOP of fiscal recklessness that will eventually be paid for on the backs of the middle class. In truth, tax experts say, the impact of the tax plan on the federal budget over 10 years is difficult to pinpoint because a tax cut of this scope has not been enacted in recent history.

Republicans were handed instant selling points Wednesday when AT&T and Comcast announced new $1,000 bonuses to a combined 300,000 employees. And Fifth Third Bancorp, a large Cincinnati lender, announced it would raise its minimum hourly wage to $15 an hour and give a one-time bonus of $1,000 to 13,500 employees because of the tax changes.

“This bill means more take home pay,” Trump told reporters earlier. “It will be an incredible Christmas gift for hardworking Americans.”

Other companies, however, say they plan to use the new tax breaks to bump stock dividends or buy back shares, moves that would enrich executives but do little for the workers they employ.

Senior White House officials said Trump will likely wait until January to sign the tax bill into law to avoid immediately triggering a 2010 law known as “PAYGO,” or “pay-as-you-go.” The budget law requires spending cuts to Medicare and other programs if legislation is approved that’s projected to add to the deficit.

If Trump signed the tax bill into law before Congress adjourns in December, lawmakers could be forced to vote on the PAYGO waiver measure as soon as next month to prevent immediate spending cuts. That could amount to as much as $25 billion to Medicare throughout next year.

Signing the tax bill into law in January would likely defer such a spending cut until 2019, giving Congress almost a year to come up with a solution. The PAYGO rules can be waived if 60 senators vote in favor, but Republicans will only control 51 Senate seats next year, meaning they will need to cut a deal with Democrats to prevent the cuts to Medicare from going into effect.

The bill also extends beyond taxes and into health care by scrapping a central part of the Obama-era law known as the Affordable Care Act. The repeal of the financial penalty for not purchasing health insurance does not go into effect until 2019. Projections vary on how the mandate’s absence will affect the health-care system, but the Congressional Budget Office has estimated it will result in 13 million fewer people having health insurance after a decade.

Trump heralded this aspect of the bill Wednesday.

“When the individual mandate is being repealed, that means Obamacare is being repealed,” he said.

Many Democrats and Republicans have said this is not true, although the change would mark the most substantial GOP step so far in dismantling President Barack Obama’s signature law. All other aspects of the health-care law would remain intact, and some Republicans have said they want to pursue new legislation that would lessen the impact of repealing the individual mandate.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance blood drive on October 1
A blood drive was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the one year anniversary of the Oct. 1 shooting. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance Lights memorial unveiled at St. Rose hospital
A dedication ceremony was held at St. Rose to unveil a memorial and to read the names of those who died on October 1, a year ago. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October Blood Drive Remembrance Wall
(Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October Blood Drive
Vitalent hosts a blood drive at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, the first anniversary of the Las Vegas shootings. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October sunrise remembrance ceremony in Las Vegas
Myanda Smith, sister of Las Vegas shooting victim Neysa Tonks, speaks at the sunrise remembrance ceremony at the Clark County Government Center in downtown Las Vegas, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. (Chitose Suzuki/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
‪Gov. Brian Sandoval speaks to crowd at Oct. 1 sunrise remembrance ceremony ‬
‪Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval speaks to the crowd at the Oct. 1 sunrise remembrance ceremony ‬at the Clark County Government Center in downtown Las Vegas, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Father of Route 91 Harvest festival shooting victim talks about college scholarship in his daughter's memory
Chris Davis, father of a Route 91 Harvest festival shooting victim, Neysa Tonks, talks about a college scholarship in his daughter's memory to assist the children of those who died in the shooting. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Oct. 1 survivor Malinda Baldridge talks about life after the shooting
Malinda Baldridge of Reno attended the Route 91 Harvest festival with her daughter, Breanna, 17, and was shot twice in the leg when the gunman fired on the crowd.
Route 91 survivor talks about lack of progress in gun legislation
Heather Gooze, a Route 91 survivor, talks about lack of progress in gun legislation since the Oct 1. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas/Review-Journal) @reviewjournal
Review held in death of man after encounter with Las Vegas police
The mother of Tashii Brown, who died after an encounter with Las Vegas police on the Strip, not satisfied after public review of evidence. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County Museum opening "How We Mourned: Selected Artifacts from the October 1 Memorials"
The Clark County Museum is opening an exhibit "How We Mourned: Selected Artifacts from the October 1 Memorials" of items left to honor the victims killed in the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Memorial service for former RJ lawyer Mark Hinueber
Mark Hinueber, the Review-Journal's former lawyer and defender of the First Amendment, died in Las Vegas on Aug. 23. Hinueber, who was 66, worked at the RJ and other newspapers for 42 years. On Saturday, his friends and family gathered for a memorial service.
Army veteran honored in Henderson event
Army Sgt. Adam Poppenhouse was honored by fellow veterans in an event hosted by a One Hero at a Time at the Henderson Events Center.
Michelle Obama and Keegan-Michael Key urge Nevadans to vote
Former first lady Michelle Obama and comedian Keegan-Michael Key urged Nevadans to vote at Chaparral High School in Las Vegas Sunday, Sep. 23, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
1 dead, 1 wounded in North Las Vegas standoff
A woman was hospitalized with serious injuries on Thursday morning after being shot inside a North Las Vegas house. Police responded about 11 p.m. to a shooting at a home on the 5600 block of Tropic Breeze Street, near Ann Road and Bruce Street. The wounded woman, police believe, was shot by a man, who later barricaded himself inside the house. SWAT was called to assist, and when officers entered the house, they discovered the man dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Las Vegas Teen Makes Clothing Resale His Side Hustle
Las Vegas resident Reanu Elises, 18, started buying and selling streetwear online when he was a high school junior. Like many other young adults, the world of online resale applications like Depop and Mercari have made selling clothing online for a profit easy. Now, Elises spends his free time at thrift shops looking for rare and vintage clothing he can list on his on his shop. Now in his freshman year at UNLV as a business marketing major, Elises hopes to open a shop of his own one day and start his own clothing brand. He estimates that he's made about $1000 from just thrifted finds in the past year, which he'll use to buy more thrift clothing and help pay for expenses in college. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Fruition Vineyards Encourages Young Entrepreneurs to "Buy, Flip, Dream"
Once a month, young adults gather at Fruition Vineyards on South Maryland Parkway near UNLV to dig through a stack of rare, vintage and designer clothing that's marked down well below it's resale value. Shop founder Valerie Julian began the vent, dubbed "Fruition Vineyards" in August after running her streetwear shop since 2005. The event gives young entrepreneurs the opportunity to "buy, flip, dream" according to Jean. Meaning that they're encouraged to buy the clothing for sale and find a way to resell it for a profit, then reinvest that into whatever dream they pursue: college, a hobby or their own resale business. Shoppers lined up starting an hour before noon on the last Saturday in April for the opportunity and spoke about what they hoped to do with their finds and profits. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Local man goes under cover searching for answers to homelessness
Licensed mental health therapist Sheldon Jacobs spent 48 hours under cover posing as a homeless man in an attempt to gain perspective on the complex issue.
Social Work UNLV Lecturer's Calling
Ivet Aldaba-Valera was the first person in her family to graduate from both high school and college. The 33-year-old UNLV lecturer is now pursuing her Ph. D in public policy at the school and has used her degree in social work to engage with the young Latino and Latina community of Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Politics
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Duncan details his Safer Nevada plan, responds to campaign commercials
Nevada needs to increase the number of psychiatric ERs and the penalty for some serious crimes, according to Republican attorney general candidate Wes. He also contends that voters should consider Democrat candidate Aaron Ford’s multiple arrests and past tax liens.
The Right Take: Kavanaugh Testifies
Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her around 1982 when both were high school students. Her testimony didn’t provide any new information to corroborate her claims, but her emotion was visible for all to see. She projected a genuine belief that Kavanaugh assaulted her.
Nevada Politics Today: Jon Wellinghoff
Nevada Politics Today host Victor Joecks interviews Jon Wellinghoff, CEO of Grid Policy.
The Right Take: Brett Kavanaugh
Two women have recently accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting them over three decades ago. Their allegations aren’t just unverified. Numerous supposed eyewitnesses have directly contradicted them.
Nevada Politics Today: Brett Kavanaugh And Trump
Nevada Politics Today host Victor Joecks and Review-Journal columnist Debra J Saunders talk about Brett Kavanaugh and Trumps visit to Nevada.
Nevada Politics Today: Brett Kavanaugh And Trump
Nevada Politics Today host Victor Joecks and Review-Journal columnist Debra J Saunders talk about Brett Kavanaugh and Trumps visit to Nevada.
Michael Ramirez Joins The Review-Journal Team
Pulitzer prize winning political cartoonist Michael Ramirez talks about joining the Review-Journal and how he started his career.
Nevada Politics Today: Danny Tarkanian
The federal government should create a high-risk pool for individuals with pre-existing conditions. Susie Lee, the Democrat running for Congressional District 3 is against ICE. She’s also ducking debates, despite once challenging her opponent to debate her. That’s according to Danny Tarkanian, the Republican nominee for CD3.
Nevada Politics Today: Danny Tarkanian
The federal government should create a high-risk pool for individuals with pre-existing conditions. Susie Lee, the Democrat running for Congressional District 3 is against ICE. She’s also ducking debates, despite once challenging her opponent to debate her. That’s according to Danny Tarkanian, the Republican nominee for CD3.
Vice President Mike Pence visits Nellis Air Force Base
During his second visit to Nevada, Vice President Mike Pence spoke to airmen inside a Nellis Air Force Base hangar and spent the afternoon campaigning for GOP Sen. Dean Heller and gubernatorial nominee Adam Laxalt.
Nevada Politics Today: Karen Wayland
Nevada Politics Today: Asm. Jim Marchant
Asm. Marchant talks about education, voter integrity and running for leadership Nevada should increase funding for Career and Technical Education, but shouldn’t automatically register voters at the DMV. Assembly Republicans will also oppose tax increases next legislative session. That’s according to Assemblyman Jim Marchant.
Nevada Politics Today: Asm. Pickard talks about taking on LVCVA, taxes and Read by 3
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Rossi Ralenkotter shouldn’t get a “golden parachute.” Tax increases aren’t necessary, but if politicians want an increase they should send it to voters. Read by Three needs a chance to work, even if it holds back thousands of third graders. That’s according to Senate district 20 candidate and Assemblyman Keith Pickard.
The Right Take: Long-time, high-ranking employee sues CCSD
Start with who filed it. Goldman has worked for the district for 38 years, including 20 years as its chief negotiator. Next, move on to who he’s suing. That list includes the district, former-superintendent Pat Skorkowsky and two board members.
Nevada Politics Today: Nevada School Choice Coalition
Minority parents in Nevada strongly support school choice, and elected officials are taking notice. School choice is also a way to help modernize education. That’s according to Valeria Gurr, director of Nevada School Choice Coalition.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like