White House hails ‘important step’ on tax bill

Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., center, confers with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, joined by Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., the ranking member, at right, as the GOP tax bill debate begins to wrap, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is praising the House Ways and Means Committee for approving the Republican Party’s tax cut package.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders calls Thursday’s party-line vote an “important step toward providing historic tax relief for the American people.” The legislation now goes to the full House.

The House GOP proposal dramatically cuts corporate taxes, doubles the personal standard deduction, and simplifies the tax code by eliminating a host of tax breaks. Senate Republicans released their own version of the legislation Thursday.

After the failure of Republican efforts to repeal the Obama health care law, tax reform remains the only potential big-ticket legislative accomplishment for President Donald Trump’s first year in office.

Sanders says the administration remains “confident” the tax bill will pass this year.

A House panel has approved far-reaching Republican legislation to deeply cut taxes for corporations, double the personal standard deduction and simplify the tax code.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted 24-16 along party lines to deliver the complex measure to the full House. It would shrink the number of income brackets from seven to four. The Republicans promote the nearly $6 trillion measure as a boon to the middle class. Democrats say it’s a tax bounty for the rich.

Republicans are pushing to drive the legislation through Congress and get it to President Donald Trump by Christmas.

The bill would reduce personal taxes for many but also limit deductions for homeowners and end them for people with steep medical bills and student loans. It would increase the child tax credit.

Senate Republicans are joining Washington’s tax debate with a proposal to slash the corporate tax rate to 20 percent and cutting the top individual rate for the wealthy by about 1 percentage point.

The plan unveiled Thursday differs from a companion House measure in key respects by preserving the home mortgage interest deduction, a tax credit for adoption expenses, and a deduction for people slammed by high medical expenses.

The measure unveiled by the Senate Finance Committee faces a vote by that panel next week and a floor vote in December.

The bill would create seven tax brackets for individuals with the top rate set at 38.5 percent for top earners. Every tax filer would get a $24,000 standard deduction, meaning far fewer people would itemize deductions on their returns.

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