The House and Senate have passed the sweeping tax plan President Trump sought since the early days of his presidency. The vote on Tuesday is his first major legislative victory on a near-party-line roll call. It was a major victory for the GOP according to The New York Times.
Critics say it may come at a steep political cost. But the reality is the totality of what it may be is what it does to the Democrats, should the results bring a better economic future for the country. The opposition voted in lockstep against the bill saying no to Trump’s plan.
The truth of the matter is that the sweeping tax legislation is the first of its kind since the Reagan-era of the 1980’s. It lowers the tax rate for American corporations to 21 percent and the idea is it will promote massive growth and a return of foreign investment to the U.S.
While some Republicans in Congress voted against the plan, they were few and far between. Their concerns were more local and national thinking. Two Southern California Republicans, Reps. Darrell Issa of Vista and Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa, among some Republicans in New York and New Jersey, voted nay.
The final tally was 227-203 House roll call Tuesday. In all, 12 Republicans opposed the tax plan. No Democrats voted for it. Senate approval shortly after midnight fell similarly along party lines, 51 to 48, with only Republicans voting yes. Republican Sen. John McCain did not vote.
Most of the media considers the new law to be a political risk for the GOP. However, as the economy continues to soar and unemployment dips to record lows, it could spell big trouble for Democratic candidates in the midterm elections next year. The Democrats have decided to vote as a block against Donald Trump in their “resistance movement.”
Voters will raise eyebrows in the coming year if Trump’s forecast for a strong economy and more jobs continues at its record rates. Many incumbent Democrats may look back to this vote and wish they had not been so intransigent.
Meanwhile, a victorious Trump tweeted congratulations after the House vote for what he has called a Christmas gift for Americans. The Senate was delayed in their vote by small provisions, including one pushed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would have expanded college savings plans to allow use for home-schooling.
The small glitches require an additional vote in the House. It was quickly scheduled for Wednesday. The bill was then sent to President Trump.
The tax bill is centered on a huge cut in corporate taxes. The hope is it will spur further economic growth. Since Trump’s election, the stock market and investment community have soared to record highs not seen in decades. A jubilant House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) summarized the emotions of Republicans by declaring, “No problem at all.”
The cloud of a unanimous Democratic vote in 2010 for Obamacare loomed over Washington. Ryan is now in the same position that then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi was with that vote. There are distinct differences though. That Obamacare vote produced not one single Democrat opposed to what could be construed as deeply partisan and political in nature.
The tax bill vote was a narrow margin in the House with bipartisan opposition. In the Senate, the vote on the Republican side was unanimous, but not without major compromise for skeptical partisans. The former was strictly ideological while the latter was deeply debated. But there was never any alternative plan submitted by the Democratic leadership that opposed the Republicans. During the Obamacare debate, the GOP proposed several alternative plans.
Shortly after the Obamacare legislation was passed, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her party lost their majority in the House. Many consider that vote to have been the catalyst. Pelosi on Tuesday called the tax bill an “all-out looting of America.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky conceded that Republicans hadn’t yet convinced Americans of the merits of the bill. That will come in the numbers over the next year before the election. The Republicans may be out on a limb, but most economists see little danger of any economic downturn from this bill.
The legislation will provide much-needed relief to middle-class families and small businesses. It will set the country on a trajectory towards more opportunity and greater prosperity. That is the hope many Republicans expressed after the vote.
The Democrats warn that the benefits of the tax overhaul will largely flow to corporations and the wealthy. They disapprove of the “trickle down” economic theory of the Reagan years. But the numbers do not lie and that era showed the greatest prosperity the country has witnessed in generations.
Moreover, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that households will see their taxes reduced by $1,600, on average, in 2018. Among middle- and upper-middle-income households, results will vary widely, depending not only on state and local taxes, but also on the number of children they have and even how they earn their income. The measure treats income from businesses more favorably than wages.
Reduction in the corporate tax rate will dip from 35 percent to 21 percent. It is argued that the resulting economic growth will more than cover the cost to the Treasury. The state and local tax deduction will be capped at $10,000, covering both income and property taxes. Mortgage interest deductions will be limited to loans of $750,000, rather than the $1 million in current law, a change that is expected to ripple through housing markets in high-cost areas.
Most media sources were negligent in their reporting of the effect the new law will have on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The legislation will effectively repeal its mandate that all Americans carry health insurance, starting in 2019, by doing away with a tax on those who fail to have coverage.
The underlying change to Obamacare will bolster the Republicans with their voting base. It emboldens Trump especially after the collapse of his efforts to repeal Obamacare. Overall, it is a major achievement for Donald Trump and the Republican Party. All eyes will now focus on the economy in 2018.
Dwight L. Schwab, Jr. is an award-winning national political and foreign affairs columnist and published author. He has spent over 35 years in the publishing industry. His long-running articles include many years at Examiner.com and currently Newsblaze.com. Dwight is an author of two highly acclaimed books, "Redistribution of Common Sense - Selected Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014" and "The Game Changer - America's Most Stunning Election in History." He is a native of Portland, Oregon, a journalism graduate from the University of Oregon, and a resident of the SF Bay Area. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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