Republicans have pushed a nearly $1.5 trillion tax bill through the Senate, taking a giant step toward giving President Donald Trump one of his top priorities by Christmas.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said the legislation would prove to be “just what the country needs to get growing again”.
Trump hailed the bill’s passage on Twitter, thanking McConnell and Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch.
“Look forward to signing a final bill before Christmas!” the president wrote.
Presiding over the Senate, Vice-President Mike Pence announced the 51-49 vote to applause from Republicans.
Senator Bob Corker was the only lawmaker to cross party lines, joining the Democrats in opposition.
In my long career in politics, I have not seen a more regressive piece of legislation, so devoid of a rationale, so ill-suited for the condition of the country, so removed from the reality of what the American people need.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 2, 2017
The measure focuses its tax reductions on businesses and higher-earning individuals, gives more modest breaks to others and offers the boldest rewrite of the nation’s tax system since 1986.
Republicans touted the package as one that would benefit people of all incomes and ignite the economy.
Even an official projection of a one trillion dollar, 10-year flood of deeper budget deficits could not dissuade GOP senators from rallying behind the bill.
After spending the year’s first nine months futilely trying to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law, GOP leaders were determined to move the measure rapidly before opposition Democrats and lobbying groups could scupper it.
The party views passage as crucial to retaining its House and Senate majorities in next year’s elections.
Congress’s non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation has said the bill’s reductions for many families would be modest and said by 2027, families earning under US$75,000 would on average face higher, not lower, taxes.
The bill is “removed from the reality of what the American people need,” said Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.