The US Senate passed the tax reform bill on Wednesday, which calls for bringing about major changes to the US tax code. In passing the Bill, President Donald Trump is closer to scoring his first major legislative victory amid criticism that the Bill disproportionately benefits the wealthy and corporations.
The Senate Republicans approved the USD 1.5 trillion tax bill by a final vote of 51-48.
The bill was passed along party lines, with every Senate Republican present voting in its favour and all Democrats voting against it.
“After years of work, we are going to enact the most sweeping, pro-growth overhaul of our tax code in a generation. Americans are going to see relief almost immediately in the form of bigger paychecks and lower taxes,” said Congressman Paul Ryan, Speaker of the US House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives had earlier approved the bill comfortably. In the House it was passed by 227 to 203 votes.
Republicans have majorities in both houses of Congress. For final approval the legislation must go back to the House for a procedural issue before it can be sent to the White House for the president to sign it into law.
Once enacted, the legislation will represent the most drastic changes to the US tax code since 1986, which includes permanent tax breaks for corporations and temporary tax cuts for individuals.
Vice President Mike Pence described the vote as a “historic win” for the American people as the Senate voted to deliver working families and job creators a tax cut for Christmas.
President “Trump kept his promise to deliver a middle-class miracle for millions of hard-working Americans – a great day for the American people!” he said.
Senator Rob Portman said the bill will cut taxes for middle-class families, reform business tax code to create more jobs and higher wages for workers, and update international tax code to encourage jobs and investments in America.
“This is the first time Congress has passed comprehensive tax reform legislation in 31 years,” he added.
The Democrats were highly critical of the tax reform bill.
“The American people have been robbed of the substantive and exhaustive debate in Congress they deserve on a USD 1.5 trillion bill that will shake up our entire economy and cripple our nation’s spending power for decades to come,” said Senator Tom Carper.
The Democrats believe the tax plan offers deep tax cuts for businesses, lower rates for many individuals and a narrower estate tax. Corporate shareholders, business owners and most households will win, at least in the first few years.
(With inputs from agencies)