Senate moves closer to vote on sweeping tax-reform bill

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As the Senate neared a momentous vote on the sweeping Republican tax bill, Senate Democrats mocked the almost 500-page printed text of the legislation - complaining it was given to them at the last minute before the vote. The House and Senate will now attempt to reconcile their different bills, and President Donald Trump has pledged to sign the tax reform legislation into law before Christmas.

Under the bill, the corporate tax rate would be permanently slashed to 20 percent from 35 percent, while future foreign profits of US-based firms would be largely exempted from tax - both changes pursued by corporate lobbyists for years.

"That is something I have to have in the bill", Collins said.

The Senate is on schedule to cast a final vote on the bill.

And despite Republicans' longstanding fear of increasing the deficit, the bill will add an estimated $1.5 trillion in federal debt.

"While the GOP claims it will help hardworking middle-class families, the fact is they will see their taxes go up over a decade", Cortez Masto said in a statement on social media.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was confident he'll get the votes this time. On Thursday, the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation released a report saying the legislation would add $1 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years, even with tax-driven economic growth projections factored in. The group describes its mission as reforming the tax code "by reducing the corporate income tax rate to make it more competitive with our nation's major trading partners".

"The Republican tax bill has made a mockery of the Democratic process", Schumer said. The party views passage as crucial to retaining its House and Senate majorities in next year's elections.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., initially was the first Republican senator to oppose the tax reform package - but Friday, Johnson's spokesman told Fox News he flipped to a "yes" vote.

Daines reached an agreement with leadership to raise the amount of pass-through income business owners can deduct. But his vote probably won't matter: Even without Corker, Republicans appear to have the votes they need to pass the bill anyway. Perhaps most significantly, nearly all of the Senate bill's tax cuts for individuals expire after seven years as a budget gimmick to reduce the bill's cost.

The apparent momentum for a tax cut in the Senate promises to benefit the wealthy and corporations at the expense of lower-income taxpayers and the government's bottom line. To pay for that, leaders reduced the number of high-earners who must pay the alternative minimum tax, rather than completely erasing it. It would bring the first major overhaul of the US tax system in three decades.

The bill would abolish the "Obamacare" requirement that most people buy health coverage or face tax penalties. The bill also repeals the Obamacare individual mandate, which could leave up to 13 million Americans without health insurance by 2027, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

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