Senate Republicans pass $1.5T tax bill in major win for GOP

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the push in Congress to pass a sweeping tax cut bill (all times local):

12:46 a.m.

Senate Republicans have passed the most sweeping rewrite of the nation’s tax laws in more than three decades, setting the stage for a final House vote Wednesday.

The House passed the bill earlier Tuesday. But the Senate had to make minor changes so the bill would comply with Senate budget rules.

The Senate vote was 51-48 on early Wednesday, with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed.

Rewriting the tax code has been a longtime goal of Republicans and an effort championed by President Donald Trump.

Democrats complain that the package is a giveaway to corporations and the rich.

The tax cuts total nearly $1.5 trillion over the next decade and would take effect in January. Workers would start to see changes in the amount of taxes withheld from their paychecks in February.ll earlier Tuesday. But the Senate had to make minor changes so the bill would comply with Senate budget rules.

The Senate vote was 51-48 on early Wednesday, with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed.

Rewriting the tax code has been a longtime goal of Republicans and an effort championed by President Donald Trump.

Democrats complain that the package is a giveaway to corporations and the rich.

The tax cuts total nearly $1.5 trillion over the next decade and would take effect in January. Workers would start to see changes in the amount of taxes withheld from their paychecks in February.

 

2:05 p.m.

The House has passed the most sweeping rewrite of the nation’s tax laws in more than three decades. The bill now goes to the Senate for an expected vote Tuesday evening.

The House approved the bill by a mostly party line vote of 227-203. The bill represents the first major legislative victory for President Donald Trump.

The $1.5 trillion package would provide steep tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy and more modest cuts for middle- and low-income families. The business tax cuts would take effect in January. Workers would start to see changes in the amount of taxes withheld from their paychecks in February.

The bill would nearly double the standard deduction used by most taxpayers, while those who itemize would lose some deductions.

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2 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is hailing the Republican tax package, saying “today, we give the people of this country their money back.”

Ryan was wrapping up debate on the House floor on Tuesday ahead of the vote on the $1.5 trillion tax package. It was the realization of Ryan’s years-long work on tax policy.

Protesters disagreed.

On woman yelled from the vistors’ gallery: “You’re lying. You’re lying. Only rich will benefit.” She was escorted out of the chamber by Capitol Police.

Another woman told the Wisconsin Republican he needs to learn math.

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1:50 p.m.

Several protesters have briefly disrupted House debate on the tax bill, yelling, “kill the bill. Don’t kill us.”

Police removed the demonstrators from the visitors’ gallery and debate proceeded, with Republicans and Democrats alternating in speaking about the $1.5 trillion package.

Several Democratic lawmakers applauded. The last protester escorted out of the gallery nodded toward the Democrats and said, “thank you.” Republicans did not applaud, but several could be seen smiling.

The House was expected to pass the bill shortly.

___

12:05 p.m.

A sweeping tax package speeding its way through Congress has cleared a key procedural vote in the House.

The House approved the rule to begin debating the bill by a mostly party line vote of 233-193. The House is on track to pass the bill Tuesday afternoon, sending it to the Senate for an expected vote Tuesday evening.

The $1.5 trillion package would provide steep tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy and more modest cuts for middle- and low-income families. The business tax cuts would take effect in January. Workers would start to see changes in the amount of taxes withheld from their paychecks in February.

The bill would nearly double the standard deduction used by most taxpayers, which those who itemize would lose some deductions.

___

10:27 a.m.

Gleeful House Republicans are taking a victory lap ahead of expected passage of their tax package.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, members of the GOP hailed the bill that would slash taxes for businesses and the wealthy while offering modest cuts for other Americans.

Republicans argue that corporations, flush with cash, will create more jobs and boost the economy.

Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters: “This is the greatest example of a promise being made and a promise being kept.”

Ryan rejected polling that shows the bill is widely unpopular. He insisted that “results are going to make this popular.”

Ryan was joined by other members of the House GOP leadership who called the day historic and praised the legislation.

The House was expected to vote around 2 p.m. The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday evening.

____

8:45 a.m.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the tax overhaul legislation facing votes today in Congress is a “huge deal for America.”

Speaking on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday, Sanders said, “Today is a huge day, not just for the White House, not just for Congress but most importantly for America.”

Sanders said middle class Americans will “see the biggest benefit out of this tax package.”

The sweeping $1.5 trillion tax bill slashes the tax rate for corporations from 35 percent to 21 percent and reduces taxes on the wealthiest Americans, while making more modest tax reductions for most others.

It’s not expected to win any Democratic votes. Speaking in front of the White House, she said Democratic lawmakers should have been “banging down the door of the building behind me to be part of this process.”

____

6:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump is hailing the performance of the stock market as the House and Senate brace for votes that majority Republicans are confident will produce the most far-reaching overhaul of the U.S. tax code in decades.

In an early morning tweet Tuesday, Trump savors what would be his biggest legislative accomplishment as president, and says “DOW RISES 5000 POINTS ON THE YEAR FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER — MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

He also says, “Stocks and the economy have a long way to go after the Tax Cut Bill is totally understood and appreciated in scope and size.”

The president adds, “Immediate expensing will have a big impact. Biggest Tax Cuts and Reform EVER passed. Enjoy. And create many beautiful JOBS!”

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3:55 a.m.

Their long-sought political goal within grasp, Republicans in Congress are set to catapult sweeping $1.5 trillion tax legislation through the House, rolling over a dozen GOP defectors from high-tax states.

The Republicans’ final drive to deliver the tax package to an eager President Donald Trump begins Tuesday with a vote in the House. Quickly following, a vote later in the day or on Wednesday in the Senate is expected to seal the deal. Both tallies likely will cling along party lines.

The Senate result was in doubt in recent weeks. Only on Friday did Republican leaders cement the needed support for the legislation, securing endorsements from wavering GOP senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Bob Corker of Tennessee. More holdout GOP senators— moderate Susan Collins of Maine and Mike Lee of Utah — came into the fold on Monday.

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