UPDATE: The U.S. Senate passed the GOP Tax Cuts and Jobs Act early Wednesday morning, 51-48. The bill was set to go back to the U.S. House for a final vote later Wednesday.
In the Senate, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) voted for the measure.
“Today, we secured a historic and substantial victory for West Virginians and for Americans across the country,” Capito said in a statement.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) voted against the tax reform bill. He said he had pushed for bipartisanship throughout the process.
“I am truly disappointed that this process turned partisan, because I believe our country needs real tax reform and anything that is done in such a strictly-partisan way is not good for West Virginia or the country as a whole,” Manchin said.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump could soon sign a sweeping tax reform bill into law.
The House of Representatives voted to approve the $1.5 trillion GOP tax bill during a Tuesday afternoon vote. The House passed the bill 227 to 203. All but 12 Republican members voted for the bill. No Democrats supported it.
The Senate was expected to vote tonight.
Several provisions in the version the House passed violate the Senate’s procedural rules and will need to be removed. That means the House will have to vote again, following the Senate vote, likely Wednesday morning.
“I’m looking forward to seeing this bill on the president’s desk before Christmas so we can deliver tax cuts in the new year,” stated 3rd District Congressman Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.).
Congressman David McKinley, who represents the 1st District, also expressed enthusiasm over the bill.
“This reform will bring some much-needed relief to the middle-class, remove special interest loopholes, lower rates, double the standard deduction…double the child tax credit, and make the tax code simpler,” McKinley stated after today’s vote.
In general, the GOP Tax Cuts and Jobs Act conference report lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent effective next year, repeals the corporate alternative minimum tax and nearly doubles the standard tax deduction for individuals.
Since most West Virginians take those standard deductions, “The average household in West Virginia is going to have their taxes cut in half,” McKinley said.
The bill maintains seven personal income tax brackets while lowering the tax rates in most of those brackets.
Also, a 20 percent business income deduction is allowed for the first $315,000 in income from pass-through businesses
The measure preserves popular deductions like those for mortgage interest, charitable giving and student loans.
Under the measure, the child tax credit doubles to $2,000 per child and would be refundable up to $1,400 until incomes reach specified levels.
Included additionally in the tax reform plan is the repeal of the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, a key component of the health care law, requiring health insurance coverage.
The Congressional Budget Office has projected the repeal, which takes effect in 2019, could lead to 13 million fewer Americans being insured.
The GOP plan limits state and local tax deductions to $10,000.
McKinley also pointed out that GOP bill retains the historic preservation tax credit which had previously been in danger of being eliminated.
Both McKinley and Jenkins appeared today on MetroNews’ “Talkline.”
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) December 19, 2017
About 55 percent of Americans oppose the GOP tax plan, according the latest CNN poll.
One of the main issues for many opponents is that the reductions to corporate taxes are permanent while tax cuts for individuals are scheduled to expire in 2025.
Jenkins said he would support making those individual reductions permanent now, but said U.S. Senate rules permitting passage with 50 votes instead of 60 prohibited that.
The “Byrd Rule,” named for late U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), allows senators to block legislation during the reconciliation process if it would significantly increase the federal deficit beyond ten years.
“I am confident as the economy grows, as the positive impacts of this legislation are felt in the years to come, within eight years down the road when there’s the possibility that provisions could get rolled back, they will be extended,” Jenkins said.
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) December 19, 2017
McKinley agreed. “I have all the confidence that that’s one thing Congress will get right and that’s going to be to maintain lower taxes,” he said.
All members of West Virginia’s Congressional delegation, with the exception of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), previously indicated their support for the tax plan.
“The bottom line is there is a lot of positive things in here It will be more money for taxpayers, more jobs and income growth,” Jenkins said.
“This is major news coming out of Washington with this tax reform,” McKinley said.