WASHINGTON (ViaNews) – The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are preparing to vote on a tax bill that could prove to be the lone victory in President Donald Trump’s first year in office.

President Donald J. Trump announcing that Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate have agreed on a deal on Tax Reform legislation. Grand Foyer at the White House on December 13, 2017, in Washington, D.C.. Photo by: Official White House Photo by Stephanie Chasez. (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License)
President Donald J. Trump announcing that Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate have agreed on a deal on Tax Reform legislation. Grand Foyer at the White House on December 13, 2017, in Washington, D.C.. Photo by: Official White House Photo by Stephanie Chasez. (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License)

Trump beamed after the deal was announced Friday and the likelihood of both chambers voting on the measure sometime this week.

“As a candidate, I promised we would pass a massive TAX CUT for the everyday working American families who are the backbone and the heartbeat of our country. Now, we are just days away,” he tweeted Sunday.

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, proclaimed that April 15, 2018, will be “the last time you will file under this monstrous, broken tax code,” he said Sunday on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.”

The deal was struck following some negotiations with Republican holdouts like Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, who said he would not vote for the measure unless the new deal included an expansion of child tax credits. The new bill includes a doubling of the tax credit to $2,000, with up to $1,400 being refundable.

Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker was also a last-minute “yes” vote after initially suggesting he would not support the bill because it initially added $1.5 trillion to the deficit.

“In the end, after 11 years in the Senate, I know every bill we consider is imperfect and the question becomes is our country better off with or without this piece of legislation,” Corker told Politico. “I think we are better off with it. I realize this is a bet on our country’s enterprising spirit, and that is a bet I am willing to make.”

One of the biggest “wins” of the bill is an increase in the standard deduction for both married and single tax filers.

Under the new plan – released by Republican congressional leadership on Friday – nearly doubles the standard deduction for single people – to $12,000 – and increases the standard deduction for couples to $24,000, according to an analysis by Politico.

In conference committee, GOP leaders cut the top rate for households making more than $600,000 and individuals earning more than $500,000 to 37 percent from the current 39.6 percent. From there, there will be six other tax brackets of 10, 12, 22, 24, 32 and 35 percent. A large part of the individual provisions will expire in 2025 unless Congress votes to extend them.

Large corporations will also feel a positive impact to the legislation has now companies will be able to take advantage of “territorial” taxes, meaning overseas profits won’t be taxed in the United States. Companies would also have the ability to only pay a one-time tax on any profits they bring home from holding overseas.

The corporate tax rate will drop to 21 percent from the current 35 percent next year and the Alternative Minimum Tax on corporations will also go by the wayside.

Though beaming, Brady did say it was likely the bill would require “fixes” after it is passed.
“I can’t imagine any major undertaking like this that doesn’t require technical corrections in the future,” Brady said.

The new measure will also eliminate the Affordable Care Act requirement that everyone be covered by health insurance, although that provision won’t come into effect until 2019.

The only uncertainty remaining is the vote itself. According to various news outlets, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, is likely to miss the vote as he has returned to Arizona for cancer treatment. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi, could also miss the vote as he also is dealing with health issues.
If both miss, it will leave Republicans with 50 votes, prompting Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote.

Quick passage of the bill will not allow for much celebration for Republicans as a two-week continuing resolution funding the government is near expiration. A likely play is for House Republicans to pass another continuing resolution funding the government into January that includes a defense omnibus provision that funds defense for an entire year.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said it isn’t likely a bill pairing a continuing resolution with a full year of defense funding will get the necessary 60 votes to pass the Senate.
“House Republicans should have known not to waste everyone’s time with a partisan spending bill that could never pass the Senate,” he said, according to The Hill. Schumer said that all but four Democrats in the Senate have said they would not support the spending measure.