U.S. House Set To Vote On Tax Bill
WASHINGTON - House Republicans are set to pass a massive package of corporate and individual tax cuts on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Democrats were fuming when Republicans in the U.S. Senate put out their own tax plan, which would repeal Obamacare's individual mandate. The mandate requires most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty on their tax returns.
"What we have now is really a one-two punch to middle-class families," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan.
But Senate Republicans say killing the insurance mandate would save more than $300 billion over 10 years, which would enable them to double the child tax credit to $2,000 -- and further chip away at middle-class tax rates.
"The middle class are the biggest winners," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.
The tweaks came after bipartisan analysts determined that the original Senate GOP plan would give the average millionaire a tax cut of $58,000 a year, while households earning between $50,000-$75,000 would pocket, on average, $688 dollars. And some would see their taxes go up.
"How many will get the double hit of a tax increase and coverage loss?" asked Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that eliminating the individual mandate would mean 13 million fewer Americans insured by 2027.
Democrats argue Medicaid and Medicare will inevitably get raided to pay for the pricey tax cuts.
"This is an unbalanced plan," said Sen. Michael Bennett, D-Colorado.
Utah Republican Orrin Hatch wrote the plan.
"There won't be any Medicare if we keep spending like you guys want to do," Hatch said.
Republicans in the House are farther along and will hold a final vote on their bill Thursday.
"We are pushing this bill as we have it," said House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Their plan doesn't touch the individual mandate. But like Senate Republicans, they permanently slash the corporate tax rate and cut individual rates across the board.
They also eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes, which has angered a handful of House Republicans from high-tax states, although probably not enough to prevent passage.
In the Senate, on the other hand, they can only afford two Republicans. One, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, said Wednesday that he's a "no" because the biggest benefits go to big corporations not small businesses.