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House gives final nod to tax overhaul

House lawmakers, who approved the tax Bill 227 to 203 on Tuesday, had to vote again after last-minute revisions

Thomas Kaplan | NYT  |  Washington 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, accompanied by members of the Republican Conference, speaks at a news conference about the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts at the US Capitol in Washington, US, on Wednesday.  	Photo: REUTERS
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, accompanied by members of the Republican Conference, speaks at a news conference about the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts at the US Capitol in Washington, US, on Wednesday. Photo: REUTERS

The House, forced to vote a second time on the $1.5-trillion tax Bill, moved swiftly to pass the final version on Wednesday, clearing the way for President to sign into law the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades. House lawmakers, who approved the tax Bill 227 to 203 on Tuesday, had to vote again after last-minute revisions were made to the Bill in the Senate, which gave its approval early Wednesday morning. The final House vote was essentially a formality, as the changes, which were made to comply with Senate budget rules, did not significantly alter the overall Bill. But the need for a second vote gave ammunition to Democrats, who had already accused Republicans of trying to rush the tax overhaul through the House and Senate. "We are five days away from Christmas, but it feels like Groundhog Day," said Representative Louise M Slaughter, Democrat of New York, who denounced the process by which Republicans undertook their tax rewrite as "nothing short of an abomination." Representative Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Texas, said, "We will be cleaning up this mess and the blunders in this Bill all of next year." House gives final nod to tax overhaul The tax rewrite is the biggest legislative achievement for Republicans since they gained full control of and the The tax Bill delivers deep and permanent tax cuts for corporations while providing temporary tax cuts for individual taxpayers, including the wealthiest Americans. The tax rewrite is the biggest legislative achievement for Republicans since they gained full control of and the The tax Bill delivers deep and permanent tax cuts for corporations while providing temporary tax cuts for individual taxpayers, including the wealthiest Americans. Republicans passed the Bill under special procedures that allowed them to avoid a Democratic filibuster in the Senate, where they have a narrow majority.

But as a result, they had to abide by budget rules that limited the contents of their Bill, and three provisions were deemed by the Senate parliamentarian to run afoul of those rules. Those components included a provision to allow the use of 529 savings accounts for homeschooling expenses, as well as part of the criteria for determining whether colleges and universities are subject to an excise tax imposed on their investment income. The provision naming the Bill as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was deemed out of bounds, too, because it would not have a budgetary effect. Senate Democrats challenged the problematic language, which was subsequently removed from the Bill, necessitating another vote in the House. "If you believe it's an important use of the Democratic minority's time on the Senate side to strike the title of the Bill because it doesn't actually impact deficit reduction, it is within their right," said Representative Rob Woodall, Republican of "Does it represent the highest and best use of their time? It does not." But Doggett seized on the last-minute development. "It is a Bill that has no name, and of course it has no heart," he said. Doggett suggested that the Bill could be called the "Donald J. Windfall Bill," arguing that and his family would be enriched by the tax rewrite.


© 2017 The New York Times News Service

First Published: Thu, December 21 2017. 03:16 IST
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