US House OKs tax overhaul, but stumbles on details

  • Business
  • Tuesday, 19 Dec 2017

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, accompanied by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), speaks at a news conference following a closed House Republican conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 19, 2017. - REUTERS

WASHINGTON: Republicans in the U.S. Congress hit a last-minute snag on Tuesday in their drive to approve the biggest tax code rewrite in 30 years, requiring another vote on Wednesday and delaying what would be their first major legislative win under President Donald Trump.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed the tax package on Tuesday afternoon, sending the bill to the Senate, where a staff official ruled that three provisions of the House bill did not comply with the Senate's complex rules, said Independent Senator Bernie Sanders.

As of early evening, the plan was for the Senate to delete the three offending provisions and vote on the bill. If approved, which is widely expected, the bill would then be sent back to the House for another vote on Wednesday.

The provisions in question deal with using educational savings accounts for home schooling and with private university endowments. The Senate parliamentarian's ruling against the provisions threw a wrench into what would have been a day of celebration for Republicans.

The bill includes steep tax cuts for corporations and wealthy taxpayers and a revamp of how the United States taxes multinational companies, as well as a new tax deduction for the owners of "pass-through" businesses, ranging from mom-and-pop stores to large real estate and financial enterprises.

It offers temporary tax rate cuts for some individuals and families, while reducing sharply the number of Americans who itemize deduction on their tax returns and cutting back the number and scope of available deductions.

As Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin looked on from the gallery, the House passed the bill by a vote of 227-203, overcoming united opposition from Democrats, who blasted the bill as a giveaway to corporations and the wealthy.

Twelve Republicans voted against it, including 11 from New York, California and New Jersey, all high-tax states where affluent homeowners could be hurt by the bill's new limits on deducting state and local taxes. - Reuters

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