What is in the Senate’s massive tax bill — and what could change

By Heather Long

The Senate plans to vote on the largest change to the U.S. tax code in 30 years tonight (or early Friday). Lowering taxes for American businesses and families is the heart of President Trump’s plan to boost the economy, although not everyone gets a tax cut in the plan.

“We are going to be saying Merry Christmas again, with a big, beautiful tax cut,” Trump said Wednesday at a speech in Missouri.

The driving force of the Senate GOP tax bill, dubbed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” is to cut taxes on businesses. Lawmakers on the right and left agree that the United States’ 35 percent top tax rate on corporations is too high and not competitive with the rest of the world. The Senate bill would lower that rate to 20 percent, the biggest reduction ever for corporations. The big business cut would be permanent, while the rate reductions for real people are set to expire after 2025.

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act is more than a tax bill. It also makes sweeping changes to health care that are expected to lead to 13 million Americans dropping insurance, and it alters the treatment of state and local taxes, which could affect local government budgets for schools and roads.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he is hopeful he has enough votes to pass the bill by the end of the week. The final version of the bill has not been made public yet, leaving little time for analysis and debate. Many senators are also asking for last-minute changes to the bill. Some are concerned that the bill would add $1 trillion to the already sizable U.S. debt. Others don’t think the bill does enough for the middle class …read more