WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have delivered an epic overhaul of U.S. tax laws to President Donald Trump, bringing generous tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, and billions to be added to the national debt.
The $1.5 trillion package, billed as a huge boom for the middle class and a spark to economic growth, provides smaller tax cuts for middle- and low-income families.
The GOP-dominated House voted — a second time — along party lines on Wednesday to approve the complex legislation, following a narrow vote after midnight in the Senate. The Senate voted after midnight Wednesday along party lines and passed the bill 51-48. Protesters interrupted with chants of “kill the bill, don’t kill us,” and Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly called for order. Upon passage, Republicans cheered, with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin among them.
The legislation is the most sweeping overhaul of the government's tax system since the 1980s.
The House had already passed the tax plan Tuesday, 227-203, but has to vote again after the Senate added a few provisions. Three provisions in the bill, including its title, violated Senate rules, forcing the Senate to vote to strip them out.
The president's Director of Social Media Dan Scavino wished everyone a Merry "Tax Cut" Christmas, about to meet the administration's goal of getting the bill passed before Christmas Day.
Democrats called the bill a giveaway to corporations and the wealthy, with no likelihood that business owners will use their gains to hire more workers or raise wages.
Nonpartisan watchdog groups say the bill will increase the huge national debt. House Speaker Paul Ryan said the GOP is willing to risk running up deficits with the aim of getting a higher annual economic growth rate.
The legislation repeals an important part of the 2010 health care law — the requirement that all Americans carry health insurance or face a penalty — as the GOP looks to unravel the law it failed to repeal and replace this past summer. It also allows oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.