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GOP leaders finalize biggest tax overhaul in 3 decades

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published December 15, 2017 at 9:59 a.m. Updated December 15, 2017 at 4:17 p.m.

house-ways-and-means-committee-chairman-kevin-brady-r-texas-talks-to-reporters-in-the-capitol-as-house-republicans-prepare-to-advance-the-gop-tax-bill-in-washington-friday-dec-15-2017-ap-photoj-scott-applewhite

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, talks to reporters in the Capitol as House Republicans prepare to advance the GOP tax bill, in Washington, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)



Republicans solidified support for their major overhaul of the nation's tax laws Friday, securing endorsements from wavering senators as they pushed to muscle their bill through Congress next week and give President Donald Trump his first major legislative victory.

Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Bob Corker of Tennessee announced Friday that they would back the bill, the most sweeping rewrite of the tax code in more than three decades. Their support all but ensures the package will pass the Senate.

A day earlier, a key faction of House Republicans came out in support of the bill, boosting its chances in that chamber.

"I'm confident we'll have the votes," said Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, one of the Republican negotiators on the bill.

Portman cast the bill as providing "the kind of middle-class tax relief that's desperately needed right now. People are looking at flat wages and higher expenses, and this will help."

Democrats disagree, arguing that the legislation would help wealthy Americans and big business at the expense of the poor and middle class.

Members of a House-Senate conference committee signed the final version of the legislation Friday, sending it to the two chambers for final passage next week. They have been working to blend different versions passed by the two houses.

Corker had opposed the Senate's original version of the bill out of concern it would add to the nation's mounting $20 trillion in debt. In recent days, he had said those concerns had not been allayed.

"I know every bill we consider is imperfect and the question becomes, is our country better off with or without this piece of legislation?" Corker said in a statement. "I think we are better off with it. I realize this is a bet on our country's enterprising spirit, and that is a bet I am willing to make."

Rubio had been holding out for a bigger child tax credit for low-income families. After he got it, Rubio tweeted that the change is "a solid step toward broader reforms which are both Pro-Growth and Pro-Worker."

The tax package would double the basic per-child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000. The bill makes a smaller amount available to families even if they owe no income tax. Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., said Friday that that amount had been increased from $1,100 to $1,400.

Rubio had said he wanted the earlier $1,100 figure increased.

Low-income taxpayers would receive the money in the form of a tax refund, which is why it's called a "refundable" tax credit.

Senate Republicans passed their original tax bill by a vote of 51-49 — with Rubio's support. If they had lost Rubio and Corker, they would have been one more defection away from defeat.

On Thursday, members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus predicted the vast majority of their members would support the package, boosting the bill's chances in the House.

House and Senate Republican leaders on Wednesday forged an agreement in principle on the most sweeping overhaul of the nation's tax laws in more than 30 years. The package would give generous tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest Americans — Trump among them — and more modest tax cuts to low- and middle-income families.

"I'm confident that at the end of the day, the Senate will approve this conference committee report because no one should be defending the status quo in this horrible tax code Americans have had to live with for too long," said Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, a top House negotiator.

The tax legislation would cut the top tax rate for the wealthiest Americans from 39.6 percent to 37 percent.

The package would nearly double the standard deduction, to $24,000 for married couples. But it would scale back the deduction for state and local taxes, allowing families to deduct only up to a total of $10,000 in property and income taxes. The deduction is especially important to residents of high-tax states such as New York, New Jersey and California.

The final package slashes the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, a big win for corporate America.

Business owners who report business income on their personal tax returns would be able to deduct 20 percent of that income.

The agreement also calls for repealing the mandate under the "Obamacare" health law that requires most Americans to get health insurance, a step toward the ultimate GOP goal of unraveling the law.

The business tax cuts would be permanent, but reductions for individuals would expire in 2026 — saving money to comply with Senate budget rules. In all, the bill would cut taxes by about $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, adding billions to the nation's mounting debt.

Rubio's opposition had come at a bad time for Senate Republicans, with two of them missing votes this week because of illness.

John McCain of Arizona, who is 81, is at a Washington-area military hospital being treated for the side effects of brain cancer treatment, and 80-year-old Thad Cochran of Mississippi had a non-melanoma lesion removed from his nose earlier this week. GOP leaders are hopeful they will be available next week.

Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Comments on: GOP leaders finalize biggest tax overhaul in 3 decades

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dunk7474 says... December 15, 2017 at 12:29 p.m.

What did Tommy and Johnny get for Arkansas?? SQUAT

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tweedyboy57 says... December 15, 2017 at 4:23 p.m.

OH Yea they did! Walmart Waltons and the Huckabees will get millions in Tax Cuts while we struggle to pay for food and medical bills. They dont give a Rats A$$ about anyone living paycheck to paycheck

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lkec2re says... December 15, 2017 at 4:58 p.m.

A true rich boy’s scam on the rest of us.

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minjabidness says... December 15, 2017 at 5:06 p.m.

i want to get a newspaper with this article and slap the idiots who vote for these blood suckers. they're the ones who need to be on the street for being dumb.

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BoudinMan says... December 15, 2017 at 5:08 p.m.

This reminds me of this past summer when they passed their ACA repeal bill. They acted like a bunch of frat boys at a kegger. They were so pleased with themselves for attempting to take health care away from millions. Now they're gonna stick us with trillions in debt to give tax cuts to million-and-billionaires. Never have so few tried so hard to take things away from so many. You 30 per-centers, these are your teabaggers.

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gohog2018 says... December 15, 2017 at 5:53 p.m.

if the left is against tax reform it MUST be good.

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... December 15, 2017 at 5:56 p.m.

It's really not the Governments money.

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JakeTidmore says... December 15, 2017 at 6:08 p.m.

Congress does all the work and Trump gets the credit??? BS!!! The jerk with the smirk did nothing in making this a reality.
From The Balance:
"Trickle-down economics says that the Reagan and Bush tax cuts should have helped people in all income levels. Instead, the opposite occurred. Income inequality worsened. Between 1979 and 2005, after-tax household income rose 6 percent for the bottom fifth. That sounds great until you see what happened for the top fifth. Their income increased by 80 percent. The top 1 percent saw their income triple. Instead of trickling down, it appears that prosperity trickled up."
**
"In 2017, Republican President Donald Trump proposed cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy. He suggested tax cuts on capital gains and dividends for everyone making less than $50,000 a year. Trump's tax plan would reduce the corporate tax rate to 20 percent. It cut income tax rates, doubled the standard deduction, and eliminated personal exemptions.The Tax Policy Center found that those earning in the top 1 percent would receive a larger percent tax cut than those in lower income levels. By 2027, those in the lowest 20 percent income levels would pay higher taxes.

He said it would boost growth enough to make up for the debt increase. But the Joint Committee on Taxation reported that the bill would add $1 trillion even after including the tax cut's impact on economic growth. It wouldn't spur growth enough to offset the cuts' loss in revenue."
**
Kent Smetters, Wharton professor of business economics and public policy:
"Most recent estimates suggest that the majority of corporate income taxes fall on business owners and shareholders, with only a minority falling on wages. And the fiscal crisis generated by Kansas’s recent tax cuts suggests today’s tax rates aren’t high enough for such cuts to be revenue-generating.”

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... December 15, 2017 at 7:54 p.m.

Jake, you're funny.
~
ht tp://ww w.nytimes.c om/1990/01/17/opinion/the-reagan-boom-greatest-ever.html
~
ht tp://ww w.realclearmarkets.c om/articles/2009/04/reagans_legacy_our_25year_boom.html
~
ht tp://ww w.businessinsider.c om/the-1980s-boom-was-caused-by-more-than-just-the-reagan-tax-cuts-2015-5
~
Get the hint?

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