Voting along sharply partisan lines, the Republican dominated U.S. House Tuesday afternoon approved the sweeping $1.5 trillion tax legislation by a vote of 227-203. It marks the first major tax overhaul in over 30 years.
Republican First District Congressman Roger Marshall cast one of the yes votes.
“Today I believe Ronald Reagan would be proud of the work Congress has done on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” said Marshall, a Great Bend physician. “The truth is we are not the same country that we were 31 years ago.”
If the GOP-led Senate follows suit this week, Republicans stand poised to hand President Donald Trump his first key legislative win of his presidency.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday the Senate planned to vote by Wednesday morning, sending the legislation to Trump for his signature.
But, Senate Democrats said Tuesday three provisions in the Republican bill violate Senate rules and will likely be removed before that chamber votes on the measure. This means the House will have to vote again on the legislation once it’s been amended and approved by the Senate.
Republican First District Congressman Roger Marshall cast one of the yes votes in the House.
“It is time to modernize our tax code to meet the challenges that we face today,” Marshall said. “I am proud to be a part of this historic solution that will provide relief for hard-working Kansans, families, and businesses.”
Marshall said the legislation allows Americans to keep their income and ends costly penalties placed on individuals that do not wish to purchase Obamacare. This legislation provides rate reductions for every income level and doubles the standard deduction, which more than 80 percent of our neighbors use.
“I was sent to Washington, D.C., to fight for Kansas’ First Congressional District and make positive and lasting reforms,” Marshall said. “This legislation does just that.”
Under this tax bill, a family of four making a yearly earning of $73,000 (national median family income) will see a tax cut of more than $2,000. The act also expands the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 per child to $2,000.
“This bill is a culmination of multiple working drafts and months of collaboration with my colleagues, and I believe that it is an excellent step forward for Americans,” he said. “I am proud of the final product, that prioritizes hard-working individuals, families and a healthier economy.”
As for who wins and who loses, it depends on who one asks.
“We’re delivering a tax code that provides more jobs, fairer taxes and bigger paychecks to Americans across the country,” said Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, Republican chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. “Our local job creators will see the lowest rates in modern history so they can invest more in their workers and in their future.”
Democrats called the bill a giveaway to corporations and the wealthy, providing little if any tax help to the less-than-well-to-do and no likelihood that business owners will use their gains to hire more workers or raise wages.
And the Republicans’ contention that the bill will make taxes so simple that millions can file “on a postcard” — an idea repeated often by the president — was simply mocked.
“What happened to the postcard? We’re going to have to carry around a billboard for tax simplification,” declared Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee.
The bill is unpopular among the public, and Democrats plan to campaign against it in next year’s congressional elections.
The complex legislation blends elements of separate House and Senate bills that were recently passed. It permanently slashes the tax rate for corporations from 35 percent to 21 percent. The tax cuts for individuals are temporary, expiring in 2026. It doubles the standard deduction used by about two-thirds of U.S. households, to $24,000 for married couples, also ending in eight years.
The $1,000-per-child tax credit doubles to $2,000, with up to $1,400 available in IRS refunds for families who owe little or no taxes. Parents would have to provide children’s Social Security numbers to receive the child credit, a measure intended to deny the credit to people who are in the U.S. illegally.
Those who itemize lose some deductions.
The legislation also repeals an important part of the health care law — the requirement that all Americans carry health insurance or face a penalty — as the GOP looks to unravel a law it failed to repeal and replace this past summer.
The package represents the first major legislative achievement for the Republicans after nearly a full year in control of Congress and the White House. Despite GOP talk of spending discipline, it is projected to add $1.46 trillion to the nation’s $20 trillion debt over a decade. GOP lawmakers say they’d expect a future Congress to continue the tax cuts so they won’t expire. If achieved, that would drive up deficits even further.
Democrats, who were excluded from the closed-door drafting sessions, have kept up a litany of criticism that the legislation favors big corporations and the wealthy, snubbing the middle class. Though several Democratic lawmakers took part in the House-Senate conference that blended the two bills, none signed the final bill.
The bill would bring average initial tax cuts for Americans across all income lines, but by 2027, it would boost average levies for everyone earning up to $75,000, which includes most taxpayers, Congress’ nonpartisan tax analysts estimated Monday.
The Joint Committee on Taxation calculated that in 2019, people earning $20,000 to $50,000 would see tax cuts averaging 10 percent or more. Those making $200,000 to $1 million would see reductions averaging slightly less.
But by 2023, people making under $30,000 would see tax increases, and those earning more would see their tax cuts get smaller.
Rushing toward a vote and political triumph, Republican leaders brushed off the less-than-rosy projections. “That’s just cherry-picking the numbers,” Brady told reporters Monday.
The disgruntled Republican lawmakers from high-tax New York, New Jersey and California receded into the background as the tax train rolled. Twelve of them voted against the House tax bill last month, which passed 227-205.
They were protesting its new $10,000 cap on the deduction that millions use in connection with state and local income, property and sales taxes. The cap remains in the final bill.
The deduction is especially vital to residents of high-tax states.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.