Archive for Tuesday, December 19, 2017

House passes massive — and unpopular — tax package; Senate to vote next

House Speaker Paul Ryan walks to the House floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. The House passed a massive tax package Tuesday.

House Speaker Paul Ryan walks to the House floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. The House passed a massive tax package Tuesday.

December 19, 2017, 10:39 a.m. Updated December 19, 2017, 1:37 p.m.


WASHINGTON — Gleeful Republicans on Tuesday muscled the most sweeping rewrite of the nation's tax laws in more than three decades through the House. House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed criticism of the widely unpopular package and insisted "results are what's going to make this popular."

The vote, largely along party lines, was 227-203 and capped a GOP sprint to deliver a major legislative accomplishment to President Donald Trump after a year of congressional stumbles and non-starters.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate would vote Tuesday evening, sending the legislation to Trump for his signature.

The massive $1.5 trillion package would touch every American taxpayer and every corner of the U.S. economy, providing steep tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy, and more modest tax cuts for middle- and low-income families. It would push the national debt ever higher.

The standard deduction used by most families would be nearly doubled, to $24,000 for a married couple, while those who itemize would lose some deductions.

"We're delivering a tax code that provides more jobs, fairer taxes and bigger paychecks to Americans across the country," said Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, Republican chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. "Our local job creators will see the lowest rates in modern history so they can invest more in their workers and in their future."

Democrats called the bill a giveaway to corporations and the wealthy, providing little if any tax help to the less-than-well-to-do and no likelihood that business owners will use their gains to hire more workers or raise wages.

And the Republicans' contention that the bill will make taxes so simple that millions can file "on a postcard" — an idea repeated often by the president — was simply mocked.

"What happened to the postcard? We're going to have to carry around a billboard for tax simplification," declared Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee.

Tax cuts for corporations would be permanent while the cuts for individuals would expire in 2026 in order to comply with Senate budget rules. The tax cuts would take effect in January. Workers would start to see changes in the amount of taxes withheld from their paychecks in February.

During debate, decorum on the House floor was fleeting as two New Yorkers — a Democrat and a Republican — voiced their opinions on the bill. Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., yelled, "Hell no" in opposition to the bill. Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., replied, "Hell yes!" The proceedings were interrupted several times by protesters shouting from the gallery.

The bill is unpopular among the public, and Democrats plan to campaign against it in next year's congressional elections. Senate Democrats posted poll numbers on the bill on a video screen at their Tuesday luncheon.

"This bill will come back to haunt them, as Frankenstein did," said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

Not so, said Ryan, who has worked for years on tax overhaul.

"When we get this done, when people see their withholding improving, when they see jobs occurring, when they see bigger paychecks, a fairer tax system, a simpler tax code, that's what's going to produce the results," said Ryan, R-Wis.

The bill would slash the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. The top tax rate for individuals would be lowered from 39.6 percent to 37 percent.

It scales back a popular deduction for state and local taxes, repeals a key tenet of Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act and allows drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Despite GOP talk of spending discipline, it is projected to add $1.46 trillion to the nation's debt over a decade. GOP lawmakers say they expect a future Congress to continue the tax cuts so they won't expire. If achieved, that would drive up deficits even further.

Republicans acknowledged they still have to convince many Americans of the benefits of their bill. Many voters in surveys see the legislation as a boost to the wealthy, such as Trump and his family, and only a minor gain for the middle class.

"I don't think we've done a good job messaging," said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore. "I don't think we've gotten out there with specifics, and the final bill has only come together in the last week or so. Now, you're able to look at the final product."

The $1,000-per-child tax credit doubles to $2,000, with up to $1,400 available in IRS refunds for families who owe little or no taxes. Parents would have to provide children's Social Security numbers to receive the child credit, a measure intended to deny the credit to people who are in the U.S. illegally.

The legislation also repeals an important part of the health care law — the requirement that all Americans carry health insurance or face a penalty — as the GOP looks to unravel a law it failed to repeal and replace this past summer.

The bill would initially provide tax cuts for Americans of all incomes. But if the tax cuts for individuals expire, most Americans — those making less than $75,000 — would see tax increases in 2027, according to congressional estimates.

Disgruntled Republican lawmakers from high-tax New York, New Jersey and California receded into the background as the tax train rolled. They oppose the new $10,000 cap on the deduction that millions use in connection with state and local income, property and sales taxes. The cap remains in the final bill.

The deduction is especially vital to residents of high-tax states.

Several defectors reaffirmed their "No" votes for the final bill on Tuesday. Rep. Peter King conveyed what people in his Long Island, New York, district were telling him about the tax bill: "Nothing good, especially from Republicans. ... It's certainly unpopular in my district," he said.


Steve King 6 months ago

In the 1920's the GOP started the Tax Cut Trickle Down line and it gave us the Depression. Regan pushed it in the 1980's and it trashed the economy. He had to raise taxes 11 times and took $2.4 Trillon from the SS Trust Fund (no longer exists). Bush pushed Tax cuts and spent Trillions off the books on war in the middle east. That gave us the Great Recession. Brownback destroyed the Kansas economy playing the same game.

What is different this time? Brownback called it Adrenaline, Ryan calls it Fuel?

Bob Summers 6 months ago

"unpopular" to the congenital Liberal.

The coming EXPLOSION of economic activity from the tax package that allows productive people to keep and use their money as they see fit, will be attributed to the Choom gang leader's complex critical economic thinking to take what productive people create and give it to people that are not economically productive.

Congenital Liberals called it "stimulus" at the time.

Steve Jacob 6 months ago

This is coming from a Libertarian, Bob. There will be no explosion. While the middle class is looking at a 3% tax cut, the biggest benefits going to businesses, who have already done well in the Trump era and will use the money on stock buybacks and dividends. Some of it will trickle down to the workers, but wage growth has been slow even in these boom times. The future looks bleak to me, we never cut spending, too low of interest rates for to long, cutting more taxes that will never pay for itself with a 20 trillion deficit,

Bob Summers 6 months ago

Why are you against people keeping their hard earned money?

Ken Lassman 6 months ago

You're surely not talking about wage earners, Bob. While the majority of almost everyone I know earn their money through salary and wage packages, in 2015 only 15% of folks' wages making over $10 million came from that source. Another 15-20% came from earned interest on their money or stock holdings, The rest came either from direct profits from the businesses they owned, or indirectly from capital gains from the big cash-in they receive when they sell their businesses for a profit.

Sure; they assume much more personal risk and must maintain their businesses on sound financial ground in order to maintain those employees' jobs and benefits. But they also benefit directly from those fine workers' skills and I daresay that those fine workers work every bit as hard day-in, day out, as the owners. So why shouldn't those at the top pay back to provide essential services for those who the owner's own wealth so depends on?

Cille King 6 months ago

Did you receive a "Tax Plan Calculator" from Rep Yoder? I received it last evening, and my taxes will go up. And this plan is supposed to help even us senior citizens?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 months ago

Bob, why are you in favor of taking my Social Security money and Medicare money? I and my employers have been paying into it for 50 years. It's only a part of all my retirement money, but it makes a difference. Are you going to pay me back?

Steve Jacob 6 months ago

I am all for lower taxes...when debts are paid. We are not even paying the minimum payment on the credit cards and the balance continues to climb. Someday we will pay the price, but who cares, that's someone else problem.

Ken Lassman 6 months ago

Worked like a charm in Kansas, didn't it?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 months ago

If I was a journalist, that's what I would be asking every time I interviewed Ryan or any Republican.

Bob Smith 6 months ago

Letting people keep more of their money = stealing. Only those on the port side of the aisle would come up with that thought.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 months ago

We've been over and over this with you Bob. Try and pay attention. Tax dollars give you a lot. Police protection Military and Civilian intelligence agencies have prevented many, many terrorist attacks, bot domestic and foreign. Highways Care for the disabled, veterans, poor Research that businesses take and make a lot of money from. Military - and the way you talk you are probably invested in the military industry Air control

You know all those things that the constitution lays out in the beginning. But you could always move to Russia. I'm sure Putin would love to welcome defectors and might not make you pay taxes.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Steve King 6 months ago

Yeah, both you B's said the same thing about Brownback's plan. How'd that work out? How many Billions in the Red is the State? $2+ Billion out of DOT ( after the "efficency" merger of the Turnpike and it's solid maintenance fund) Everybody makes mistakes, only fools don't learn from them. Here we go again. On a National level. Major firms have already stated they will increase dividends not wages. They won't be hiring new people with a tax break. We've seen that. Money in the Owner's pocket. Demand, not tax cuts dives hiring. Sad.

Bob Smith 6 months ago

"Yeah, both you B's said the same thing about Brownback's plan..." Citation, please? I think you are imagining things again. Only fools do that.

Richard Heckler 6 months ago

Tax Heist NOT Reform

The bill also would void an Affordable Care Act requirement that nearly all Americans obtain some form of health coverage or pay a penalty. The change is projected to reduce government spending by $300 billion over a decade but also eventually leave 13 million more people with no health insurance.

Republicans have touted their bill as a middle-class tax cut and have promised that it will produce enough economic growth to boost hiring and workers’ wages, and create enough revenue to keep it from enlarging the deficit.

In an analysis of an earlier version of the bill, the Joint Committee on Taxation , Congress’s official tax scorekeeper, projected that the bill would add $1 trillion to the deficit over a decade, even when projected economic growth is taken into account. That figure would grow substantially if the individual tax cuts were extended, and Republicans predict that they will be.

[Americans think Trump’s tax plan is a giveaway to the rich. New graphs show they’re right.

Democrats unanimously oppose the plan but lack the votes to block it in either chamber. The sidelined minority’s members have spent months bashing the plan as a giveaway to corporations and the wealthy.

“Today is a terrible day for millions of hard-working people, but it is a great day for giant multinational corporations and billionaires who fund Republican campaigns across this country,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said on the Senate floor Tuesday ahead of the vote. “It’s not tax reform. It’s a heist.”

Brandon Devlin 6 months ago

"Democrats unanimously oppose the plan"

Let's be totally honest. . .do they oppose "the plan?" Or do they unanimously oppose the President?

Richard Heckler 6 months ago

Why are ALEC conservatives throwing republicans, democrats, women, tea party thinkers, green party thinkers and children under the bus? ALEC controls the Kansas legislature.

Whenever the right wing conservatives have been in in charge the nations economy and job market goes to hell. The USA job market goes straight to hell each time conservatives control the senate, house and white house. Conservatives then stonewall when they have a majority in the senate and/or house.

How do conservatives get away with blaming others ?

In reality too many voters not voting in elections allow the nations politics, job market and economy to go to hell.

Right wing anti american libertarians and ultra conservative fundamentalists control the GOP name though are not GOP at all. It is ALEC through and through.

There are few elected republicans in the republican party as we speak. Voters allowed this to happen by not paying attention to the fraudulent campaigns that dupe republicans.

What party is lying to the voters virtually 24/7? Libertarians that which teamed up with the Christian Fundamentalists.

Both are working to over throw democracy and take over the economy, cut wages, destroy social security, destroy public education, destroy medicare, destroy medicaid, destroy medical insurance, destroy the environment, destroy wages, destroy public education, destroy public water access, further destroy the job market and wages and keep medical insurance extraordinarily expensive:

Why are conservatives throwing republicans, democrats, women, tea party thinkers, green party thinkers and children under the bus?

WE did not elect anyone to dictate what healthcare options we citizens should have nor did we elect anyone to steal our Medicare Insurance, Medicaid, Social Security Insurance nor squash public education.

Right wing anti american libertarians and ultra conservative fundamentalists control the GOP name though are not GOP at all.

There are few republicans in the republican party as we speak. Voters allowed this to happen by not paying attention to the fraudulent campaigns that which slipped by registered republicans that which includes me.

I have since left this bogus GOP.

Richard Heckler 6 months ago

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Offers up suggestions from both sides of the aisle based on best candidate.

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Greg Cooper 6 months ago

Well, that's the right thing to think. Me. me, me. Good job Stacy, of upholding the Regressive philosophy. Let 'em eat cake, put 'em back to work, education doesn't mean that much to low class scum, all that fine, upstanding philosophical, self-centered crap you guys espouse in the name of fiscal responsibility. Oh, wait, you just raised the national debt by an amount mortals can not even comprehend, didn't you? Well, you got your $8,00, so what does it matter to the rest of us, right? Oh, yeah, and Kansas did cut spending, didn't it? And, now, is embroiled in a constitutional battle testing educational funding, health care is tanking, infrastructure repair has been put on indefinite hold, and old people and poor kids are just not as factor in the state's budgetary concerns. But you got your $8,000, now, didn't you? Good job, Stacy.

Marc Wilborn 6 months ago

Personal responsibility is a key to maintaining the vitality of our country. While assisting those who can make a better life, we should not forget those who are less fortunate. The problem is that the federal government no longer believes this to be true and has focused for too long on garnering votes versus helping us help ourselves.

Greg Cooper 6 months ago

Where do you get that "extra" deal from? I pay what I do because my Constitution tells me that my money will be used for the common good. I don't have to like the amount I pay, but I do because even you may some day need help for whatever reason, and I don't besmirch you for needing that help. Do some game the system? Sure, they do. Do most? Absolutely not.

This country was founded, in part, by a bunch of people who got tired of their government paying no attention tot he basic "common good: tenet. And, yes, most were hard working visionaries who worked toward that "common good" goal, as well as trying to enrich themselves. And that's as it should be. But when the government, as Marc says, becomes an instrument of greed for a few and laissez faire for the many then our taxes are not being collected for the right reasons.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 months ago

Here is the preamble of our country. Not sure where you live. We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,[note 1] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 months ago

So do you even live in Kansas. It was always governed by fiscally responsible people and there was no where to cut. And they did cut to the bone They cut education, roads, state employees. Our mental hospitals have lost their license, prisons have gone downhill, foster kids go missing and aren't cared for. Disabled people can't get the services they need. It didn't work. It was never meant to work. It was meant to give the Koch's more money to buy politicians. Why are you so uninformed?

Marc Wilborn 6 months ago

Fiscal responsibility? Where is fiscal responsibility in this country? It cannot be found on the right or left. Both parties over-promise and under-deliver. This tax reform will create even more people who do not pay federal income taxes in this country which cannot be good long term.

Richard Heckler 6 months ago

Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax-cut strategy sucks -

Read more here:

--- GOP austerity is a disaster of Greek proportions: Sam Brownback, Bobby Jindal & the economic scam of the century. America isn't Greece, but we can see in Kansas and Louisiana the disastrous consequences of Greek-style austerity

Kansas Is Totally Screwed

--- More Proof Brownback Tax Cuts Are Not Working

--- New jobs report shows Brownback tax cut promises still failing

--- Brownback Tax Cuts Now Full Blown Disaster for Kansas

Worker's taxes siphoned off by their bosses

What’s the matter with Kansas Schools

Cille King 6 months ago

Did you receive the "Tax Plan Calculator" from Rep Yoder? My taxes will go up - how about other lower income senior citizens?

Sam Crow 6 months ago

Considering the doubling of the individual standard deduction by $6500, and the approximate 10 % decrease in tax rates, you must have an awful lot of questionable deductions for a low income seasoned citzen now to lose.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 months ago

So you are saying that Yoder sent a faulty calculator?

Sam Crow 6 months ago

I cant vouch for a generic calculator on an unknown site, nor what she put into it.

But it is simple math.

Brandon Devlin 6 months ago

You might try the one on the New York Times website. It's much more user friendly, and in both of them, I get a different result.

Bob Smith 6 months ago

It'll get more popular when tens of millions of working Americans realize that they get to keep more of their own money.

Steve Jacob 6 months ago

Remember, those hard working Americans tax cuts are only five years, corporate tax cuts are forever, so you know who the people in DC care more about.

Gary Stussie 6 months ago

Richard ... don't get so worked up. If its a loser, like you say, DEMs will be in good shape at mid-terms.

I think Liz Peek (FOX News) said it good ... "Let’s be honest: the GOP tax plan is the Democrats’ worst nightmare. After a year of “resistance” against a duly elected president, stalling on Cabinet confirmations, slow-walking the exodus of Obama appointees, issuing purposefully damaging and often untruthful rumors about connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, attacking each and every initiative of the incoming administration, wailing about Congress moving forward on a partisan basis (as though ObamaCare didn’t follow the same path), threatening impeachment and detailing gleefully every misstep and foolish tweet made by President Trump, Democrats are about to face an emboldened adversary. ....

But here’s what should worry Democrats; that poll indicates that the public’s dislike of the bill is because they don’t really think their taxes will go down. What happens when they find out that Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who called the bill a “punch in the gut for the middle class,” or House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, R-Calif., who has called the bill a “scam” and “Armageddon,” are lying to them?

Steve Jacob 6 months ago

If it makes Democrats here feel any better, the Republicans will now focus on Russia and Trump in 2018, because they have no more use for Donald now.

Bob Smith 6 months ago

Let's revisit this bold prediction in 12 months and see how well it holds up.

Gary Stussie 6 months ago

Tax Plan reduces corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% and changes the way the U.S. government taxes companies that also operate internationally.

AT&T - The telecom giant said Wednesday that more than 200,000 of its employees, including union-represented and non-management workers, will be eligible for a $1,000 bonus. The checks will be in the mail in time for the holidays if Trump finalizes the tax bill with his signature before Christmas. AT&T (T) also said it will invest $1 billion more than expected in the U.S. in 2018, once the cuts are final.

Boeing - The aerospace and defense company immediately announced $300 million in investments after the bill passed, with $100 million toward corporate giving including employee gift-match programs, $100 million toward workforce development, training and education and $100 million toward enhancing Boeing’s workplaces.

Comcast - The Philadelphia-based telecom corporation said it would award $1,000 bonuses to more than 100,000 non-executive employees. In addition, Comcast (CMCSA) NBC Universal Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts said the company plans to spend more than $50 billion in the next five years on infrastructure investments that are expected to create "thousands of new direct and indirect jobs."

Wells Fargo & Company (WFC) said it would raise the minimum wage for its team members to $15 per hour and earmark $400 million for philanthropic initiatives in 2018. Some $100 million of that total will be committed to boosting small businesses, while $75 million will support neighborhood revitalization efforts.

ZERO Democrats in House or Senate voted for Trump's Tax Plan ... once again DEMs back the wrong horse!

Richard Neuschafer 6 months ago

Try getting your "facts" from reliable sources, Gary. You just posted more bunk as usual.

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