GOP tax bill passes House as Senate plans late vote Tuesday

Tom MacArthur. Kevin B. Sanders for Observer

It would almost double the standard deduction to $24,000 for a married couple, and double the child tax credit to $2,000. More holdout GOP senators- moderate Susan Collins of ME and Mike Lee of Utah - came into the fold on Monday. Only 12 Republican congressmen voted against the bill.

The complex legislation, hammered out in compromise, blends elements of separate House and Senate bills that were recently passed.

The bill's main features are cuts in the corporate tax rate, an end to the estate tax, a reduction in rates for most tax filers and an increase in the individual exemption.

The House passed a deeply unpopular tax overhaul Tuesday, securing Republicans a much-sought legislative victory after a year of largely spinning their wheels and setting up a major political test for the president's party in the months and years ahead. Families earning less than $25,000 would receive an average tax cut of $60, while those earning more $733,000 would see an average cut of $51,000, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Democrats say the bill will deepen the income gap between rich and poor Americans, while adding $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years to the mounting $20 trillion US national debt.

Ryan expressed confidence that the public's view of the tax bill will change, telling reporters "results are going to make this popular".

The plan - which maintains the same number of income tax brackets as under current law but adjusts their parameters - cuts individual tax rates, including slashing the top rate for the highest earners from 39.6% to 37% and shifting the top bracket up slightly to income over $600,000 for people filing jointly or $500,000 for single filers.

The bill also matches the version passed by the Senate in doing away with the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate to obtain insurance, effectively making the tax bill double as Republicans' biggest blow to Obamacare.

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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. "Tax reform will get us a 3 percent economy". "That's just cherry-picking the numbers", Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, head of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, told reporters Monday.

Republican leaders unveiled their final version of the bill only late last week, after a period of negotiations between the House and Senate to iron out differences. 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.

Passing the bill in December, with many provision set to take effect January 1, 2018, leaves employers and employees little time to figure out how to adjust take-home pay under the new bill and it remains unclear how long it will take the Internal Revenue Service and payroll professionals to figure out how to adjust withholdings under the new law.

The deduction is especially vital to residents of high-tax states.

Tony Krvaric, chairman of the Republican Party in San Diego County, said he found it "simply implausible" that no Democrat voted for the tax bill. John McCain, who has brain cancer, was spending time with family in Arizona.

But no Republican senators have so far declared opposition to the bill.

Vice President Mike Pence, who is president of the Senate, would be called on to cast the deciding vote in case of a deadlock.

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