Trump scores legislative victory after Senate passes tax cuts bill
US President Donald Trump scored a key legislative victory after the Senate voted 51-49 to pass a sweeping tax cuts bill. The bill marks the biggest tax overhaul in the US since the 1980s. The Senate bill must be merged with the tax bill passed by the House of Representatives last month. It will then be enacted into law pending President Trump's signature.
What the Senate bill includes
The Republicans tax plan dramatically lowers taxes on businesses which the party hopes would allow companies to invest more and boost the economy. It also changes the way Americans are taxed, one of Trump's signature campaign promises. Republicans claim their plan will create simpler, fairer tax code, offering tax rates to businesses that are comparable with other countries.
Bill passed after dissenting Republicans offered support
The bill's passage came as dissenting Republican senators offered their support after several amendments. It was passed despite a Senate committee's assessment that it would add $1 trillion to the US budget deficit. The Democrats, who continued to oppose the bill, were unable to gather sufficient votes to prevent its passage. Republicans have a 52-48 majority in the Senate.
Democrats believe bill will benefit only wealthy
Democrats have criticized the bill for providing tax cuts to big corporations and businesses and for adding to the US' burgeoning deficit. "This bill directs the lion's share of its benefits to those at the very top, the already wealthy and the already powerful," said Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer. Schumer warned that social security and medical provisions may be endangered.
Senate and House must agree on final bill
The Senate and House of Representatives have passed their own versions of the tax bill. Both chambers will hold talks to reconcile their respective bills into one single bill which will be sent to Trump to sign into law. The reconciliation process is expected to present further hurdles in the coming weeks. Trump wants the final bill enacted by the end of this year.