Last week, as many of you know, Senate Republicans voted for a major tax overhaul, working overtime to cut corporate taxes while raising taxes on thousands of middle class families. The corporate tax rate would be cut from 35% to 20% and the personal deduction would be eliminated. And even though they are doubling the standard deduction, the elimination of the personal deduction means that many families would end up paying extra.
That wasn't the only thing in the Senate bill. The bill removed the individual mandate and raised the threshold for the estate tax. The last one is good news for all those poor families who stand to inherit between $6.5 million and $11 million. Now people who will inherit only $10 million dollars won't have to pay those predatory taxes.
The bill does a lot of good for people who are very rich, and hurts middle class people in many subtle ways. There was a lot of activism to prevent the bill, and unfortunately Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) got everything she wanted in negotiations and voted for the bill, making the final vote 51-49.
Who knew Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) would ever vote with the Democrats? Color me surprised.
If you watched Schoolhouse Rock, you may think that there's no more hope, and now that the bill has passed the Senate, it's heading straight for Trump's desk. And I am here to tell you, once again, that Schoolhouse Rock has lied to you.
A bill only goes to the President's desk when the House and Senate versions of the bill are the same. In this case, however, there are huge differences between the bill passed by the House and the bill passed by the Senate. For example, the House bill does not repeal the individual mandate. But it does repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax. So there are some things that need to be worked out.
In this case, members from both parties and both houses have to go to a Conference Committee. They have to agree on a bill that then has to be passed by both houses. And in order for it to be passed by the Senate, the bill cannot add to the deficit, due to the procedures of reconciliation.
This certainly isn't impossible, but it does give people the continued opportunity to speak out against the tax bill, and try to convince their Senators to vote against whatever bill comes out of the conference committee. And I don't know about you, but I haven't given up on Senators Collins and Murkowski just yet.