Washington — For the first time since 1986, the US Congress is passing a bill that brings major reforms to the US tax code. It also brings a much needed legislative victory for Repubicans in the House and Senate, and for President Trump, after they had failed several times this year to repeal Obamacare.
On a vote of 51-48, the US Senate passed the tax reform bill. The vote came shortly after midnight in Washington. The vote followed one that had earlier passed the US House Tuesday afternoon. The vote in the Senate was along party lines, and Vice President Pence was presiding in case his vote was needed to break a tie — it wasn’t.
Illinois senators, Durbin and Duckworth each voted against passage.
This vote should have been the final touch, before sending the bill to the President for his signature, but a procedural glitch, where the Senate’s version was not quite the same as the House had passed, means the House will have to vote again on passage — but that is a formality as the House leaders now know they have enough votes.
Earlier on Tuesday, the House voted 227-203. A vote that was also along party lines. The House will take up the Senate version of the bill, and pass it on Wednesday and then send it to the President for his signature. It’s not known just yet when the President will sign the bill. Some reports say he may wait until after the start of the new year.
The divide in the parties was also heard by protesters who were in both the House and Senate chambers during the debate. While Senators took to the floor to speak, protesters interupted the debate several times, with the Vice President ordering the Sargent-at-Arms to restore order, several times over the course of the evening.
After Republicans tried several times, and failed, over the course of the year to repeal Obamacare, which they had promised voters they would do if elected, the passage of the Tax Reform bill, gives Republicans in the Congress both an accomplishment to offer their supporters, and gives the President a major first year legislative victory.
For Democrats, it gives them a major campaign issue upon which to raise campaign funds. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters earlier, that this was the worst bill to every come to the House floor.
Republicans say they are confident that this will become popular with voters in time, as workers begin to see more money in their take-home pay, as the tax cuts on families goes into effect.
Among the provisions of the bill, is a doubling of the standard deduction, with single wage earners deduction going from the previoius $6000 to $12,000. For a working couple, the standard, non-itemized deduction goes from $12,000 to $24,000.