Following months of relentless lobbying, backroom scheming, self-dealing, and brazen lying, Senate Republicans finally rammed through their $1.5 trillion tax bill by a party-line vote of 51-48 in the dead of night Wednesday, all but clearing the legislation’s path to President Donald Trump’s desk.
“The bill that the Republicans jammed through the Senate tonight isn’t tax reform. Let’s call this out for what it is: Government for sale.”
—Sen. Elizabeth Warren
While Republicans held fast to the long-debunked narrative that their bill is tailored toward middle class Americans and small businesses, progressives were quick to characterize the legislation as “highway robbery”—a “heist” carried out at the behest of the donor class and the largest corporations.
“The bill that the Republicans jammed through the Senate tonight isn’t tax reform,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in a statement following the GOP’s after-midnight vote. “Let’s call this out for what it is: Government for sale.”
Warren’s characterization of the Republicans’ 500-page bill—which was largely negotiated in secret and is deeply unpopular among the public—was echoed by a large coalition of advocacy groups that has worked for months to raise awareness and rally opposition to the GOP’s legislative “monstrosity.”
“Plainly speaking: a vote for this bill is a vote to inflict harm on millions of hardworking families to please corporate campaign donors and the six thousand lobbyists who pushed for it,” Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, said in a statement following the Senate’s vote. “It’s a money grab by the richest one percent and the wealthiest corporations, period.”
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According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center (TPC), 80 percent of the bill’s benefits will go to the top one percent by 2027. And while many Americans will see their taxes decline next year, the benefits will be paltry compared to those reaped by the wealthy. In an analysis published Monday, TPC found that in 2018, Americans earning less than $25,000 a year will see an average tax cut of $60, while those earning more than $733,000 will see a cut of $51,140.
To officially send their bill to Trump’s desk, House Republicans have to vote once more Wednesday, as several provisions—and even the legislation’s title—were deemed in violation of Senate rules.
Despite the narrow procedural process Republicans had to follow in order to pass their bill without Democratic support, the GOP tax bill has a scope that reaches far beyond tax policy.
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