- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday approved the GOP’s nearly $1.5 trillion tax-cut plan, as Republicans cleared another major hurdle on their next big-ticket agenda item after the full House passed its own plan earlier in the day.

The committee approved the plan on a party-line, 14-12 vote.

“This is an initiative that focuses on building a better economy for American workers and a better future for generations to come,” said Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch.

“While we’ve cleared a major hurdle tonight, there is still much work to be done and I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this across the finish line,” he said.

Sen. Ron Wyden, the committee’s ranking member, said many Americans can expect to see a tax hike under the plan, after Republicans turned away a number of Democratic amendments during the four-day markup.

Those included measures that sought to eliminate tax cuts for the wealthy and block the broader plan from taking effect if the economy doesn’t hit benchmarks Republicans are predicting.

SEE ALSO: House easily passes $1.4 trillion tax cut

“A bill that was first crafted in the dark is headed back for the dark once more,” Mr. Wyden said.

The Senate plan, like the House bill, slashes the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. It also cuts individual rates, nearly doubles the standard deduction, and increases the child tax credit.

Unlike the House bill, the Senate plan includes a repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate, which requires most Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. Unlike the House, the Senate also sunsets the individual tax cuts after 2025, though senators say they don’t expect lawmakers to ultimately let the new rates lapse.

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

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