President Donald Trump may be on his way to recording his first major legislative victory as US senators on Saturday morning passed a sweeping tax cuts bill, which marks the biggest tax overhaul since the 1980s.
Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the corporate tax rate would be permanently lowered from 35 per cent to 20 per cent, while future foreign profits of US-based firms would be mainly exempt from tax.
The plan, entitled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, TCJA, is projected to add $1.4 trillion over 10 years to the country’s budget deficit.
Presiding over the Senate, Vice-President Mike Pence declared the 51-49 victory to applause from Republicans, who narrowly scaled through with the bill.
Meanwhile, it is not the end of the race as the House and Senate must now smooth out differences in their bills and vote on the compromise.
Praising the bill, Trump wrote on Twitter, “We are one step closer to delivering massive tax cuts for working families across America”.
The Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, said the reforms would “make America more competitive and keep jobs from being shipped offshore and provide substantial relief to the middle class”.
Democrats, however, derided the bill as a poor deal for the middle-class and poor Americans. No Democrats voted for the bill, but they were unable to block it because Republicans hold a 52-48 Senate majority.
The Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, described it as “regressive” and “ill-suited for the condition of the country”.
Democrat Senator, Bernie Sanders accused Republicans of “looting the Treasury” while Senator Jon Tester said he had received the 479-page bill just a few hours before the vote. One page had “hand scribbled policy changed on it that can’t be read”, he said.