The House of Representatives has approved a game-changing rewrite of the US tax code proposed by President Donald Trump. No Democrats voted for the bill. Tax reform now faces an uphill battle in the divided Senate.
On Thursday, the Republican majority voted to approve HR1, or “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” The final vote was 227 in favor and 205 against. All of the Democrats opposed the bill, and over a dozen Republicans joined them.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and his top staffers have worked to bring a few holdouts over to his side. Trump himself met with the House Republican leadership earlier in the day.
“We need to restore growth, we need to restore opportunity,” Ryan told his fellow Republicans before the vote. “This is something that is going to refresh our confidence in ourselves, and our confidence in each other.”
Before the vote, some Republicans shared a sense of optimism that the new tax code would go over better than some of their past legislative defeats.
Representative Steve Womack (R-Arkansas) acknowledged the obstacles that lie ahead in the Senate, but he was in high spirits and told members of the House Ways and Means Committee that “they’ll come around,” CNN reported.
Representative Dennis Ross (R-Florida) echoed Womack’s optimism on Wednesday.
“I think the health care debacle helped us prepare for this one,” he said, according to CNN. “I think all the members also realize that this is very crucial, that we need a tax bill out of here, and I think that’s why there’s not a lot of angst over whether we have the votes tomorrow. I think we’ll be right on target.”
The House bill would consolidate individual and family tax brackets from seven to four and reduce the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from the current 35 percent. It would also end or scale back some popular deductions.
The Senate proposal ties tax cuts to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate, returning to attempts to repeal “Obamacare” that foundered this summer amid monolithic opposition from Democrats joined by Republicans like Senator John McCain (R-Arizona).
“A simple, fair and competitive tax code will be rocket fuel for our economy, and it’s within our reach. Now is the time to deliver,” the White House said in a statement following the vote.