BFF-04 Trump’s much-touted tax cut on track for passage in US Congress

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BFF-04

US-POLITICS-TAXATION-ECONOMY

Trump’s much-touted tax cut on track for passage in US Congress

WASHINGTON, Dec 16, 2017 (BSS/AFP) – A major tax cut promised by US
President Donald Trump was on track for final passage next week, after two
previous holdouts in his Republican party said Friday they would vote yes on
the legislation.

Republicans in both houses of the US Congress, where they hold majorities,
each adopted their own versions of the controversial tax code overhaul since
November and were putting the final touches on a bill combining the two
plans.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida had imperiled the legislation this week
when he said he would not vote in favor of the sweeping bill unless some
changes were made.

Rubio had been demanding a doubling of the child tax credit to $2,000. His
spokeswoman confirmed to AFP that Rubio had moved to the “yes” camp after he
got an increase in the refundable portion of the credit, which will help
lower-income families.

Bob Corker of Tennessee, a fiscal conservative who had been the only
Senate Republican to vote against the chamber’s initial tax proposal, also
said he would vote for the bill, despite reservations over the likelihood
that the reforms would substantially increase the national debt.

“I know every bill we consider is imperfect and the question becomes is
our country better off with or without this piece of legislation,” Corker
said in a statement.

“I think we are better off with it. I realize this is a bet on our
country’s enterprising spirit, and that is a bet I am willing to make.”

– Wall Street records –

Wall Street stocks surged to fresh records following the news that Rubio
and Corker were on board with the reform, pushing the long-awaited measure
closer to the finish line.

An outline of the compromise text that leaked this week saw the federal
corporate tax falling from 35 percent to 21 percent — a notch up from the 20
percent in previous versions — and the maximum income tax rate would drop
from 39.6 percent to 37 percent.

But the final text, which both chambers will likely vote on early next
week, has not been released by negotiators amid last-minute haggling.

Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate, and could have only
afforded two defectors, with Vice President Mike Pence casting a deciding
vote in case of a deadlock.

No Democrats support the measure.

Each Republican member therefore has considerable power, especially with
Senator John McCain hospitalized as he fights an aggressive form of brain
cancer.

Trump was optimistic about his party’s chances of passing tax reform,
which would be a massive win for the leader who has yet to notch any major
legislative victory after nearly a year in office.

“I think we are going to be in a position to pass something as early as
next week, which will be monumental,” he said.

Trump has promised Americans that the sweeping reform would pass before
Christmas, so that it would take effect from the beginning of 2018.

BSS/AFP/MRI/0816 hrs