US House OKs tax overhaul, but stumbles on details


The final vote in the House was 227-203 with a vote in the U.S. Senate expected to soon follow.

The Republicans' final drive to deliver the tax package to an eager President Donald Trump begins Tuesday with a vote in the House.

With the GOP unable to send the American Health Care Act to the White House, passage of the tax overhaul would finally furnish a decisive legislative victory for the president, closing out one of Trump's chief campaign promises just before Christmas.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday signed off on a $1.5 trillion tax overhaul that Republican advocates say will cut taxes for individuals and companies, and boost job creation, investments and economic growth.

The top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, which drafted the bill, said Republicans falsely promised their revision would simplify taxes so much that it would allow people to file taxes on a postcard.

The Senate will still vote on the bill Tuesday night before passing it back to the House.

Protesters briefly interrupted the proceedings, chanting "kill the bill!" right before Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) made his speech on the House floor.

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Democrats say the bill will deepen the income gap between rich and poor Americans, while adding $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years to the mounting $20 trillion US national debt.

The plan - which maintains the same number of income tax brackets as under current law but adjusts their parameters - cuts individual tax rates, including slashing the top rate for the highest earners from 39.6% to 37% and shifting the top bracket up slightly to income over $600,000 for people filing jointly or $500,000 for single filers.

The biggest beneficiaries of the new tax plan are corporations, whose tax rate will decrease from 35 percent to 21 percent.

But three pieces of the bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), were ruled to violate the Senate's Byrd rule and must be removed from the bill before it can be voted on in the upper chamber.

Speaker Ryan was not concerned about the bill's unpopularity.

Colin Parent, a councilman for the city of La Mesa, said the GOP tax plan would make it "harder for all ends of the housing ladder". The debt is expected to soar by at least $1 trillion more than it would without the tax measure, according to projections. Twelve Republicans voted against the bill. Under the bill the House passed, taxpayers can only deduct up to $10,000 in state and local taxes on their federal return, including property, income, and sales taxes. Vice President Mike Pence could pass the tie-breaking vote if another Republican voted no. John McCain, who is in Arizona receiving care for complications from his cancer treatment, is not expected to be in Washington to vote for the bill, bringing Republicans' vote total to 51. Republican Sen. Jeff Flake was still uncommitted late on Monday. Sen.