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Republicans Unveil Final Version of Tax Bill

Image: Republicans Unveil Final Version of Tax Bill

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, on the progress of an agreement on a sweeping overhaul of the nation's tax laws. (Susan Walsh/AP)

By    |   Friday, 15 December 2017 07:20 PM

Republicans released the final version of their $1.5 trillion tax plan late Friday, repealing the Obamacare individual mandate, slashing the corporate tax rate to 21 percent and increasing the standard deduction and child tax credits.

"The House and Senate have agreed to a unified tax plan, and we will deliver it to the president's desk just in time for Christmas," said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

The House plans to vote on the legislation Tuesday, McCarthy said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said that the bill would "bring real relief to the middle class by taking money out of Washington's pocket and putting it into theirs.

"It means a tax cut of more than $2,000 for a family of four earning $73,000.

"That's real money in communities across Kentucky, from Paducah to Pikeville," McConnell said. "And only those who don't know the struggles of hardworking American families could conclude otherwise."

Under the plan, the corporate tax rate would fall to 21 percent, beginning next year, from 35 percent — and the corporate alternative minimum tax would be repealed.

For individual taxpayers, the legislation would keep the current seven tax brackets, starting at 10 percent, with the final bracket falling to 37 percent, from the current 39.6 percent for single and joint filers.

However, the individual rate cuts would expire after 2025.

Regarding the standard deduction, it would increase to $12,000 for single taxpayers and $24,000 for married couples, filing jointly.

The current rates are $6,350 for single filers and $12,700 for married couples who are filing jointly.

In a nod to New York and other high-tax states, the legislation would expand the state and local deduction to no more than $10,000 for individuals, but could include property taxes and either sales or income taxes.

Along those lines, the mortgage interest deduction would apply to new purchases of first or second homes under the plan, but would be capped at loans of $750,000.

Under current law, the deduction was capped at loans of $1 million.

The tax bill also repeals the Obamacare individual mandate, which imposed a penalty of $695 for anyone not buying health insurance, or 2.5 percent of household income, whichever is higher.

The child tax credit, a sticking point for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, was doubled to $2,000 and expanded to each child under 18 through 2024.

In addition, the legislation would raise the phase-out amount to $500,000, and cap the refundable portion at $1,400 in 2018.

In addition, the legislation would reduce the medical expense deduction to 7.5 percent of a taxpayer's adjusted gross income for 2018 and 2019.

Regarding the estate tax, the tax plan would double the thresholds so the current 40 percent levy on estates — valued at more than $5.49 million for individuals and $10.98 million for couples — would apply to fewer estates.

The higher thresholds would sunset in 2026.

Just hours before the plan was released, Rubio and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker said they would back the legislation.

Rubio said that he was satisfied with the changes to the child tax credit, while Corker called the legislation a "once-in-a-generation opportunity to make U.S. businesses domestically more productive and internationally more competitive."

Other Republicans lauded the bill, with House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin saying that "this is what the American people have been waiting for: more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks.

"This is the first major tax reform in a generation," he added. "It means relief for hard-working families and a jumpstart for our economy.

"We're in the final stretch — and we're ready to get this done for the American people by Christmas."

South Dakota Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said that "after years of economic stagnation, this bill will usher in a new era of economic dynamism in this country.

"Our final package delivers on the promise we made to provide real relief to hard-working Americans," Thune said. "After years of economic stagnation, this bill will usher in a new era of economic dynamism in this country.

"And it will send a message to the world that America is serious about competing and succeeding in the 21st century economy."

But Democrats quickly slammed the bill as a handout to wealthy Americans and corporations, with many taking to Twitter:

The Associated Press and Bloomberg News contributed to this report.

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Republicans released the final version of their $1.5 trillion tax plan late Friday, repealing the Obamacare individual mandate, slashing the corporate tax rate to 21 percent and increasing the standard deduction and child tax credits.
gop tax plan, republicans
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2017-20-15
Friday, 15 December 2017 07:20 PM
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