When the GOP tax bill finally gets a vote: Here’s what you need to know about it
The House Ways and Means Committee passed a bill to cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations on Tuesday, but Democrats say the legislation does little to help struggling Americans.
The legislation also does little toward repairing the country’s $19 trillion national debt, a burden that Democrats have long sought to end.
The Democrats said they would like to see a 10-year, $1.5 trillion stimulus package in the Senate, but that has stalled in the Republican-controlled chamber.
A bill that could be the first to address the national debt in nearly three decades passed the House with a vote of 419-4, with all Republicans in favor.
The tax bill would cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and simplify the corporate income tax code, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
But it’s also important to keep in mind that the GOP’s proposal would raise taxes on almost everyone, including the wealthiest Americans, those making more than $1 million a year and people making less than $75,000 a year.
The GOP tax plan, called the American Taxpayer Relief Act, would also eliminate many deductions and credits that help lower-income people, including deductions for mortgage interest, charitable donations and medical expenses.
The measure would also give individuals and businesses a new set of tax breaks known as “pass-throughs” that would allow individuals and corporations to deduct more money from their taxes.
“We have seen over the past few years that tax reform has been one of the few priorities that is in the hands of the President,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a statement.
“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is an important step in addressing the national deficit and helping working families pay their fair share.
We are pleased that it now has the support of our Republican colleagues, but we are ready to continue working to get it to President Trump’s desk.”
The Democrats said the bill doesn’t do enough to address a “moral crisis” that has led to an economic recession and the loss of over 2 million jobs since 2009.
“While this bill has been praised by Democrats, Republicans and the American people, many Americans feel that the real goal of this bill is to enrich the wealthiest at the expense of working families and our country’s middle class,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D of Maryland, said in a written statement.
“The American people want to make sure they have an effective, balanced plan that protects the middle class and provides relief to hardworking families and businesses across our country.
We will continue to work to make that happen.”
Democrats in the House have also expressed concerns about the impact the GOP plan would have on Medicare, which President Donald Trump has threatened to cancel if it isn’t passed.
In addition to the tax cuts, the bill would repeal many Obamacare protections, including Medicaid expansion, a health care program for the poor and disabled, and help low-income families afford health insurance by lowering the premiums.
The House bill also repeals a provision that would have allowed insurers to charge older Americans up to five times as much for coverage, and repeal a tax break that was given to corporations that offer insurance on their websites.
Republicans have repeatedly said they will not allow the tax plan to go through the House because it doesn’t go far enough to help those who need help.
Democrats in both chambers have repeatedly urged the White House to veto the bill.
The administration has said it will appeal the bill’s failure in the courts, arguing that it’s a “revenue gimmick” that doesn’t make any sense and should be repealed.