Sweeping tax reform PASSES the Senate: GOP scores major victory in 11th-hour vote for $1.5 TRILLION bill after Democrats said they had no time to read the 500-page, 'scribbled' small print
- The Senate approved a sweeping tax overhaul in the early hours of Saturday
- Vote passed by 51-49 as Democrats voted in bloc and one Republican opposed
- Vice President Mike Pence announced passage at 1.51am to a round of applause
- Final alterations to the bill were still being made late in the evening on Friday?
- Democrats claimed they didn't have time to read bill and tried to adjourn vote
- Victory moves Donald Trump one step closer to slashing taxes for businesses
- Democrats say tax overhaul will add $1.5 trillion to national debt over 10 years
- Republicans insisted changes will be revenue-neutral as tax cuts spur growth
The Senate dramatically approved a $1.5trillion tax overhaul in the early hours of Saturday, giving the Republicans a huge victory?after furious Democrats cried foul and claimed they had no time to read the bill.
The 51-49 vote moves the GOP and President Donald Trump a major step closer to slashing taxes for businesses and the rich in a bid to re-ignite the economy while offering everyday Americans more modest changes.
After the vote, President Trump tweeted: 'We are one step closer to delivering MASSIVE tax cuts for working families across America. Special thanks to @SenateMajLdr Mitch McConnell and Chairman @SenOrrinHatch?for shepherding our bill through the Senate. Look forward to signing a final bill before Christmas!'
Vice President Mike Pence announced the bill's passage at 1.51am to a round of rapturous applause from Republicans after a marathon voting session.
Final alterations were still being made late Friday as furious Democrats protested they had no time to read the 479-page bill which was scrawled with handwritten notes.?
They demanded an adjournment but it failed to pass as Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) declared: 'The Senate is descending to a new low of chicanery.'
Now the Senate and the House of Representatives, which has already approved its own tax bill, must craft a single bill to send to Trump to sign into law. The President wants it on his desk before Christmas.
Vice President Mike Pence quickly moved to the Senate chamber to break a tie vote on an amendment on 529 savings plans, he approved and ?pushed the vote to 51-50 for it that would allow parents to use 529 college funds to pay private school tuition for students k- highschool
?Republicans look on as the votes in the tax reform bill are counted.?Final alterations were still being made late in the evening on Friday and into the early hours of Saturday morning. The final, decisive vote was announced at 2am
President Trump took to Twitter in the early hours of Saturday morning to thank the Republicans in the Senate?
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer tried to push the Democratic vote till Monday to give the lawmakers a chance to read the 500-page, small print bill with illegible hand written notes
Sen. Bob Menedez shared tweaks the Democrats had to decipher before the senate begins asking for amendments
The Democrats, who voted in bloc, said the largest US tax overhaul since 1986 will help the rich at the expense of the middle class and add $1.5trillion over 10 years to the $20trillion national debt.
They were joined by deficit hawk Bob Corker of Tennessee, the only Republican to oppose the bill. 'Obviously I'm kind of a dinosaur on the fiscal issues,' said Corker.
But other Republicans insisted the changes will be revenue-neutral as tax cuts spur employment and growth.
After the vote, Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, called it 'a great day for the country' and said: 'I'm totally confident this is a revenue-neutral bill'.?
The bill was almost scuppered by a push from Schumer to delay the vote until Monday as Democrats complained the bill was scrawled with last-minute changes and printed in small font.
Several posted photos of the bill on Twitter and accused the GOP of being irresponsible and devious.?
Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, called it 'a great day for the country' and said: 'I'm totally confident this is a revenue-neutral bill'
Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana posted a video of him holding the bill on Twitter and said 'one page literally has hand-scribbled policy changes on it that can't be read'
|Income group||?||Changes in 2019||Changes in 2027?|
|Less than $10,000||?||4% of people in group get tax cut||1% get tax cut; 2% pay more|
|$10,000 to 20,000?||?||38% get tax cut?||3% get tax cut; 27% pay more?|
|$20,000 to 30,000?||?||45% get tax cut||5% get tax cut; 22% pay more?|
|$30,000 to 40,000?||?||61% get tax cut?||9% get tax cut; 21% pay more?|
|$40,000 to 50,000?||?||72% get tax cut?||12% get tax cut; 21% pay more?|
|$50,000 to 75,000?||?||81% get tax cut?||14% get tax cut; 26% pay more?|
|$75,000 to 100,000?||?||84% get tax cut?||22% get tax cut; 20% pay more?|
|$100,000 to 200,000?||?||64% get tax cut?||32% get tax cut; 30% pay more?|
|$200,000 to 500,000?||?||85% get tax cut?||43% get tax cut; 40% pay more?|
|$500,000 to 1 million?||?||91% get tax cut?||58% get tax cut; 37% pay more?|
|More than $1 million?||?||80% get tax cut?||61% get tax cut; 39% pay more?|
|Source: Joint Committee on Taxation?||?||?||?|
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts tweeted: 'No, I haven't had time to read the 500-page #GOPTaxScam bill that we're voting on tonight,' with a photo of her reading aloud from pages at her desk. 'Couldn't read it if I tried - and I did.'??
Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana said 'one page literally has hand-scribbled policy changes on it that can't be read. This is Washington, D.C. at its worst. Montanans deserve so much better.'
Some Democrats were furious that the vote was even taking place at night.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said on the Senate floor: 'Millions of Americans must be watching in stunned disbelief tonight as the Republican Senate betrays the middle class for the benefit of faceless multinational corporations. What is happening tonight is the worst of the United States Senate.'
Democrats blasted Republicans arguing they were trying to rush the legislation through the Senate without giving lawmakers a chance to read it.
Schumer pushed a motion to delay until Monday saying:?'Because the bill was given to lobbyists to read and change before senators saw it, and because the bill was given to us on a few hours' notice and has not been read fully or considered fully by a single senator, I move we adjourn until Monday so we can first read and then clean up this awful piece of legislation.'
But Senators voted 48-52 on the motion to adjourn and fell short of simple majority needed to stall the legislation. A few hours later the bill passed and Republicans were?celebrating.
The bill was almost scuppered by a push from Schumer (pictured on Friday) to delay the vote until Monday
Soon after the vote was announced, Mike Pence tweeted:?Tonight's tax cut vote in the Senate was a historic victory for the American people. Grateful for the support of @SenateGOP for passing @POTUS' 'middle-class miracle' for millions of hard-working families. On track to have POTUS sign the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act into law by Christmas!'?
Tax reform would give Trump and his Republicans their first major legislative achievement of 2017, despite controlling the White House, the Senate and the House since he took office in January.
In getting the bill through the Senate, they succeeded where they failed earlier this year, when their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act collapsed.
This time, urged on by donors and fearful of facing voters in next year's midterm elections without a legislative achievement to show, Republicans said time and again that failure was not an option.
Republicans want to add almost $1.5 trillion over 10 years to the $20 trillion national debt to finance changes that they say would further boost an already growing economy?
Bob Corker of Tennessee, the only Republican to oppose the bill. 'Obviously I'm kind of a dinosaur on the fiscal issues,' said Corker
'The American people wanted change,' said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). 'We were able to deliver.'?
Wisconsin Republican and House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement: 'We will move quickly to a conference committee so we can get a final bill to President Trump's desk.'
US stock markets have rallied for months at the prospect of a corporation tax cut as the bill reduces the rate from 35 to 20 per cent.?
The bill focuses its tax reductions on businesses and higher-earning individuals, gives more modest breaks to others and offers the boldest rewrite of the nation's tax system since 1986.
Republicans touted the package as one that would benefit people of all incomes and ignite the economy. Even an official projection of a $1 trillion, 10-year flood of deeper budget deficits couldn't dissuade GOP senators from rallying behind the bill.?????
Majority Mitch McConnell declared 'We have the votes,' earlier Friday evening, after leaders swayed holdout senators by agreeing to fatten tax breaks for millions of businesses and let people deduct local property taxes.?
Republican leaders engaged in eleventh-hour negotiations with GOP holdout senators to meet their demands and secure their support for the bill that's a political imperative for Trump and the party.?
They had rounds of closed-door meetings and were drafting the revised bill text up to the time they assembled on the Senate floor in advance of the vote.?
In 2010, Republicans argued that Democrats hadn't read the massive health care bill before voting for its passage.?
Democrats slammed a provision in the bill designed to give a special tax break to a conservative college in Michigan.
The party also said the tax break was designed to help just one politically-connected school: Hillsdale College in southern Michigan.
Democrats were furious an extension to vote ont the massive, 500-page, tax bill only hours before would not happen, as Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar tweets
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (pictured in the days before the vote) said on the Senate floor: 'Millions of Americans must be watching in stunned disbelief tonight'
'I can't find anybody else in America who benefits from this particular provision. That doesn't strike me as right,' said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. 'There are so many deserving schools in Oregon and Pennsylvania and elsewhere who don't get this special treatment.'
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said, 'It feels like this is a very limited provision written for a very special person.'
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., acknowledged he sponsored the language and Hillsdale College would benefit from it.
Leaders' changes last night included helping millions of companies whose owners pay individual, not corporate, taxes on their profits by allowing deductions of 23 percent, up from 17.4 percent. That helped win over Wisconsin's Johnson and Steve Daines of Montana.
People would be allowed to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes, a demand of Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. That matched a House provision that chamber's leaders included to keep some GOP votes from high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California.
The changes added nearly $300 billion to the tax bill's costs. To pay for that, leaders reduced the number of high-earners who must pay the alternative minimum tax, rather than completely erasing it. They also increased a one-time tax on profits U.S.-based corporations are holding overseas and would require firms to keep paying the business version of the alternative minimum tax.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. - who like Corker had been a holdout and has sharply attacked Trump's capabilities as president - voted for the bill. He said he'd received commitments from party leaders and the administration 'to work with me' to restore protections, dismantled by Trump, for young immigrants who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children. That seemed short of a pledge to actually revive the safeguards.
The Senate bill would drop the highest personal income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 38.5 percent. The estate tax levied on a few thousand of the nation's largest inheritances would be narrowed to affect even fewer.
Deductions for state and local income taxes, moving expenses and other items would vanish, the standard deduction - used by most Americans - would nearly double to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for couples, and the per-child tax credit would grow.
The bill would abolish the 'Obamacare' requirement that most people buy health coverage or face tax penalties. Industry experts say that would weaken the law by easing pressure on healthier people to buy coverage, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said the move would push premiums higher and leave 13 million additional people uninsured.
Drilling would be allowed in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Another provision, knocked out because it violated Senate budget rules, would have explicitly let parents buy tax-advantaged 529 college savings accounts for fetuses, a step they can already take but which anti-abortion forces wanted to inscribe into law. There were also breaks for the wine, beer and spirits industries, Alaska Natives and aircraft management firms.
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin wasn't amused to have to read and process the $1.4trillion tax bill read now ahead of him
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