Republican overhaul effort faces an uphill battle in the Senate where the party holds a narrow majority
President Donald Trump's promised rewrite of America's tax code moved a little closer to reality Thursday with the House of Representatives rushing it through the chamber.
The 227-205 vote to pass the package of $1.5 trillion in tax cuts was roughly divided along party lines between the House's Republican majority and Democratic minority. But 13 Republicans from mostly high-tax states defected to the other side of the aisle over the elimination of the state and local tax deduction and a $10,000 cap on property tax deductions.
"This is about giving hard-working tax-payers bigger paychecks, more take-home pay," House Speaker Paul Ryan said shortly after he guided his caucus to a successful vote. "It's about getting this economy to grow faster so we get bigger wages, more jobs, and we put America in the driver's seat in the global economy once again."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, however, derided the "tax scam" as a scheme to help the rich and corporations at the expense of middle-class families.
"House Republicans voted for raising taxes on 36 million middle class families in order to hand deficit-exploding giveaways to the wealthiest and corporations shipping jobs overseas," she said in a statement.
The Republican overhaul effort faces an uphill battle in the Senate where the party holds a narrow majority, and opposition has already fomented after a congressional analysis found the Senate version of the tax reform package would actually increase taxes on lower and middle-income Americans within a few years.
The Joint Committee on Taxation said the tax burden for those earning $30,000 or less would see a jump in their federal dues starting in 2021. Starting in 2027, those saddled with higher taxes would include anyone earning $75,000 or less.
Republicans can only afford to lose two votes in the chamber they control 52-48. Vice President Mike Pence would cast the tie-breaking vote, and would certainly side with his party in the likely event that all Democrats and Independents vote in opposition.
Already one Republican has voiced opposition.
Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said Wednesday that he opposes his chamber's legislation in its current form, citing what he called high taxes on corporations.
A handful of other prominent Republicans have yet to back the proposal.