U.S. House passes sweeping tax reform bill

By Jack Crowe

The House passed a comprehensive tax reform bill Thursday in a significant step toward fulfilling the GOP leadership’s goal of placing a bill on President Donald Trump’s desk by the end of the year.

The bill passed 227 to 205, with 13 Republican defectors and no supporting votes from Democrats. The House version slashes the corporate rate from 35 to 20 percent, collapses the existing seven income brackets down to four and eliminates a plethora of popular deductions, resulting in a total of $1.4 trillion in individual and business tax cuts over the next decade.

“For the first time in 31 years we are wiping the tax code clean and replacing it with one that is fairer and simpler for everyone,” GOP Rep. Devin Nunes of California, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, told the New York Times.

Republican leadership was ultimately unable to win over lawmakers from high tax states like New York and New Jersey, who remained opposed to the bill because of its elimination of the state and local tax deduction, a provision that compensated residents of high tax states by granting them deductions on their federal income tax. The House version maintains a $10,000 property tax deduction, a concession that proved insufficient in winning over the defectors.

The GOP still faces the ominous task of reconciling the now passed House version with a Senate draft that diverges from its counterpart on a number of key issues. Unlike the House bill, the Senate draft repeals the Obamacare tax levied against consumers who choose to go uninsured, a contentious measure that jeopardizes the legislation by alienating centrists.

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