December 20, 2017
Final Tax Bill Passes Congress
UPDATE: On Friday, December 22, President Donald Trump signed H.R. 1 into law.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a final version of a bill to overhaul the U.S. tax code. This was the chamber’s second time voting on the bill, since several provisions were removed during the Senate consideration, forcing it to return to the House. On Tuesday, the Senate voted 51-48 to pass the bill after the $1.5 trillion bill passed the House of Representatives earlier in the day with a vote of 227-203. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill, which also includes some health-related provisions, into law soon.
This tax bill is the biggest rewrite of the tax code in over 30 years. Among the provisions included in the bill was a repeal of the individual mandate, an Affordable Care Act requirement that individuals buy health insurance, effective in 2019. The bill does not include a controversial provision that would tax as income tuition waivers received by graduate students. To ensure sufficient support on the tax bill, Senate Republican leaders worked with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) on an agreement to consider two health care reform proposals that would stabilize the health care marketplace, including a deal known as Alexander-Murray. It was anticipated that must-pass legislation to fund federal government operations into 2018 would serve as the vehicle to advance the stabilization proposals. However, including the proposals in spending negotiations could prove problematic, impacting the votes needed to pass the funding to prevent a shutdown.
Since the tax bill is being considered under a reconciliation procedure, Democrats don’t have the ability to block the bill on their own as only a simple majority is required for passage.