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Senate moves closer to passing Republican tax reform package
03 December 2017, 12:40 | Annette Crawford
'We haven't had time to read it': Republicans defeat Democrat pleas to adjourn the vote on tax reform because they only had four hours to read the 500-page, small print bill
The framework for both the Senate and House bills was developed in secret over a few months by a half-dozen Republican congressional leaders and Mr Trump advisers, with little input from the party's rank-and-file and none from Democrats.
Part of what is making it so tricky for the GOP to pass their tax bill is that undecided Republican senators wanted concessions that might upset the overall math of the bill needed to keep it within the constraints of the budget rules under which it is proceeding to a vote with zero Democratic support. It would bring the first major overhaul of the USA tax system in three decades.
Because the House passed a different tax-slashing bill, the probable outcome of Senate approval - provided the House doesn't pass the Senate's version - would be a conference committee in which lawmakers from both chambers fashion a compromise that could include elements of either bill.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, on Friday said he believes Republicans have the votes to pass the bill. In all, the cuts total a little less than $1.5 trillion in revenue over 10 years.
Their support is key because Senate Republicans hold a slim 52-48 majority in the Senate, meaning they can only afford to lose two votes, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaker.
So while the assurances Flake received on DACA were weak tea, it's a risky subject to be bandied about in a tax-bill negotiation, with the Democrats who would have to be deeply involved in any deal presumably excluded.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., flanked by, Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon, left, and Sen.
Those groups said provisions that would prevent federal filers from deducting state and local taxes, and eventual tax hikes on middle-class families if the sunset cuts are not extended would cause property values to drop by 10 percent and eliminate an incentive for homebuyers.
On Saturday, Bishop Frank Dewane, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said further analysis and recommendations from the bishops would be forthcoming, but "Congress must act now to fix the fundamental flaws found in both bills, and choose the policy approaches that help individuals and families struggling within our society". Pass-through income would still get taxed at individual tax rates, but those business owners would have the deduction.
"We think we're going to get it done by the end of the year", she said. Trump and other Republicans insist that the corporate tax rate must be reduced from 35 percent to 20 percent.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., initially was the first Republican senator to oppose the tax reform package - but Friday, Johnson's spokesman told Fox News he flipped to a "yes" vote. Lawmakers will have to work out agreements on the estate tax, which the House bill repeals but the Senate bill merely reduces, and differences on provisions governing "pass-through" businesses that pay individual instead of corporate taxes. "Because, basically, they voted against tax cuts".
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