- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 20, 2017

After a slight procedural snag, the House on Wednesday voted again on Republicans’ $1.5 trillion tax-cut plan, officially sending the measure to President Trump for his signature and following through on the GOP’s push to enact the most sweeping tax reform in three decades.

The bill, which did not include several minor items in the version the House had passed Tuesday, passed on a 224-201 vote.

“We had such a good time yesterday, we just wanted to do it again today,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan joked on Fox News Wednesday, chalking the snafu up to “bizarre Senate rules.”

Senate Democrats did manage to sustain objections to several items that could have violated Senate rules, but only managed to delay the inevitable after the House passed a virtually identical bill on a 227-203 vote Tuesday.

“On average, everybody’s going to benefit,” Mr. Ryan said.

Mr. Trump was planning to hold a celebratory event with House and Senate lawmakers at the White House later Wednesday.

SEE ALSO: Donald Trump cheers Senate tax-cut vote, announces White House press conference

Republicans say the plan, which slashes the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and trims individual rates, will only get more popular over time as the public sees the additional money in their paychecks as early as February.

“If we can’t sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said early Wednesday after the Senate passed the plan on a 51-48 vote.

But Democrats say they plan to hang the tax vote over Republicans’ heads heading into the 2018 midterm elections, and that the GOP will come to regret pushing forward at such a breakneck pace.

They said the procedural issue exemplifies what they describe as a slapdash, partisan process from Republicans to ram the bill through before Americans have a chance to understand it.

“Maybe in a mad dash to provide massive tax breaks for corporations and the 1 percent, the majority failed to do [the] due diligence and properly vet the bill,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter, New York Democrat and the ranking member on the House Rules Committee.

“Imagine what other areas we have yet to discover,” she said. “This is a consequence of a process that was nothing short of an abomination.”

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The plan lowers individual rates, including a reduction of the top rate from 39.6 percent to 37 percent, but has the individual cuts expire after 2025 in order to comply with budget rules limiting the cost of the package to $1.5 trillion.

Analysts project that on average, the plan would provide an income tax cut across all income levels in the short term, though taxes would go up over time as the individual provisions expire.

Republicans say they expect lawmakers to extend those cuts down the road.

It provides new incentives for smaller “pass through” businesses that file their taxes at often-higher individual rates, in an effort to provide some level of parity with larger corporations that will be paying the new 21 percent rate.

It also sets out new international rules, laying the groundwork for a “territorial” tax system where foreign earnings aren’t subject to U.S. taxation and imposing a one-time “repatriation” tax for foreign assets currently parked overseas to be brought back and theoretically infused into the U.S. economy.

It repeals Obamacare’s individual mandate to carry health insurance, partially making good on the GOP’s pledges to repeal the law, and opens up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for oil drilling, another longtime Republican priority.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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