US Senate Republicans hastily passed their massive tax bill in the middle of the night
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The US Senate narrowly passed its tax overhaul bill in the wee hours of this morning, after Republicans made a number of last-minute changes to satisfy the few remaining holdouts from their party.
The nearly 500-page bill, passed 51 to 49, cuts the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%. Though Republicans have framed the legislation as a tax cut for middle-class Americans, the bill will actually raise taxes on millions of working Americans, while benefiting the country’s wealthiest the most. The bill also repeals the Obamacare individual mandate, which could leave up to 13 million Americans without health insurance by 2027, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
And despite Republicans’ longstanding fear of increasing the deficit, the bill will add an estimated $1.5 trillion in federal debt. Bob Corker of Tennessee was the only Republican to vote against the bill, citing deficit concerns. No Democrat voted yes.
Besides having obvious issues with the content of the bill, Senate Democrats were incensed by the rushed way it was passed. They said the massive bill, with last-minute addenda scribbled in its margins, was not given to them until only an hour or two before they were to vote on it. Senator Elizabeth Warren posted a video on Twitter criticizing the sloppy process:
Other Democrats took to social media to say that they literally had trouble reading the written changes:
The bill’s passage in the senate was its biggest obstacle, but Republicans still have some work to do before it officially becomes US law. It will now be sent to conference committee, where Senate members will have to reconcile their bill with the very different version passed by the House on Nov. 16, before sending it to president Donald Trump to sign.
One of the final Republican holdouts in the senate, Jeff Flake of Arizona, said he decided to ultimately support the bill after he was given assurances by senate leadership that he’d have a seat at the table when they discuss a solution to allow “Dreamers“—illegal immigrants who were brought to the US as children—to remain in the country.
Around 8am US eastern time this morning, Trump tweeted his thanks to senate Republicans for passing the bill, calling it the “Biggest Tax Bill and Tax Cuts in history.”