Republicans in Congress approved a controversial $1.5 trillion tax overhaul, with the Senate voting early Wednesday to move the measure forward.
It is perhaps the first major rewrite of the tax code in more than three decades and it marks a huge legislative victory for President Trump and GOP lawmakers, who have seen their agenda stalled amid steadfast Democratic opposition and disarray within their own party. Passage of the tax cut, while unpopular across much of the political spectrum, speaks to the Trump base of the Republican party, and to businesses and wealthy Americans, who will accrue most of its windfalls.
Moments before the deciding vote was cast, a protest broke out in the Senate chambers, with chants of “Kill the bill, don’t kill us!”
The vote was 51-48, with all Republicans voting in favor and all Democrats opposed.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that two provisions in the bill would have to be removed, meaning that the House will need to vote again, with passage almost certain.
One provision at issue would allow families to use education savings accounts, often called 529 accounts, to pay for K-12 private schools and home-schooling expenses. The other would exempt private colleges and universities with fewer than 500 tuition-paying students from a new tax on their endowments.
However, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., blasted Republicans for a bill that she said would particularly benefit the already-wealthy.
“In this holy time, the moral obscenity and unrepentant greed of the GOP tax scam stands out even more clearly,” she said.
Democrats charged that the bill was a giveaway to corporations and the wealthy, with no likelihood that business owners will use their gains to hire more workers or raise wages. And they mocked the Republicans’ contention that the bill will make taxes so simple that millions can file their returns “on a postcard” — an idea repeated often by President Trump.