ST. GEORGE – While the U.S. House version of the GOP’s tax reform bill passed Thursday, the future of the Senate’s version of the same remains in question. It nonetheless passed out of the Senate Financial Committee Thursday night and now advances to the Senate floor.
“After months of hard work and nearly a week of robust deliberation on the merits of this legislation, the Senate Finance Committee acted tonight to advance the most comprehensive tax reform bill in a generation. This is a historic moment and one we should all be proud of,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said Thursday.
The Senate bill was approved on a party-line 14-12 vote. Like the House measure, it would slash the corporate tax rate and reduce personal income tax rates for many.
Unlike the House measure, the Senate version of the tax overhaul proposal repeals of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that everyone in the U.S. have health insurance. Elimination of the so-called individual mandate would add an estimated $338 billion in revenue over 10 years that the Senate tax-writers used for other tax cuts.
Still, a nonpartisan congressional analysis released earlier this week claims the GOP’s tax reform bill could also eventually produce higher taxes for low- and middle-income earners but deliver deep reductions for those better off.
Prior to the committee’s advancing, claims by Democrats that the tax reform was primarily geared to favor corporation and the wealthy received an angry reaction from Hatch.
“I come from the poor people. And I’ve been working my whole stinking career for people who don’t have a chance,” Hatch said. “And I really resent anybody saying that I’m just doing this for the rich. Give me a break. I think you guys overplay that all the time and it gets old… and frankly I get sick and tired of it.”
Hatch has repeated said the tax reform will help put more money into the pockets of American families and also help grow the economy, as well as modernize a tax system that hasn’t been overhauled in 30 years.
“By nearly doubling the standard deduction, lowering tax rates, and doubling the child tax credit, we have made good on our promise to deliver a bill that will improve the lives of average Americans who have been hit by nearly a decade of sluggish economic growth,” Hatch said.
The modernization of the tax code will also be a boon to businesses large and small, he said, and keep keep more jobs and investment within the United States.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, praised the committee’s approval of the tax reform legislation.
“For the millions of hard-working Americans who need more money in their pockets and the chance of a better future, help is on the way,” McConnell said. “…Building off of years of work, dozens of hearings and bipartisan proposals, the Senate Finance Committee has reported a bill that will bring lasting relief to middle-class families, small businesses and American workers.”
Congressional Republicans are hoping to have the tax reform passed and signed into law by President Donald Trump by Christmas.
Yet analysts’ projections from Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation for the Senate bill came a day after Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson became the first GOP senator to state opposition to the measure, saying it didn’t cut levies enough for millions of partnerships and corporations.
With at least five other Republican senators yet to declare support, the bill’s fate is far from certain in a chamber the GOP controls by just 52-48.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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