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Trump gets ready to sign tax reforms code, celebrate first legislative win

The Republican legislation passed along strict party lines, 51 votes to 48, with all Democrats united in opposition.

world Updated: Dec 20, 2017 22:03 IST
Yashwant Raj
A man holds up an effigy of US President Donald Trump during a protest against the tax overhaul plan, in front of the New York Stock Exchange, December 19.
A man holds up an effigy of US President Donald Trump during a protest against the tax overhaul plan, in front of the New York Stock Exchange, December 19. (AP Photo)

US President Donald Trump can’t wait to put his signature on a bill said to be the most comprehensive overhaul of the country’s tax code in 30 years. Congressional Republicans were scheduled to send him the bill on Wednesday, which will mark his first major legislative victory.

The House of Representatives, which had passed the same bill earlier, will be re-voting on it because of a technical glitch. The bill’s passage is a mere formality now.

“The United States Senate just passed the biggest in history Tax Cut and Reform Bill,” Trump tweeted. “(It) goes to the House tomorrow morning for final vote.”

The tax-code overhaul, which is estimated to cost $1.5 trillion over 10 years, will cut corporate rate from 35% to 21%, and individual tax from 39.6% to 36%. An average American family of four earning $75,000 annually is expected to get a tax break of $2,000, but they could also see some tax reliefs disappear.

The Indian government and the private sector have kept a “hawk-eye” on the progress of the reforms, watching especially for direct or indirect impacts. A provision on taxing of offshore subsidiaries of US companies — under Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax clause — has been of special concern.

Indian students applying to US colleges and universities had also followed the progress of the bill keenly. Doctoral students had faced the prospect of having their tuition waiver — which they get in lieu of teaching undergraduate classes — added to their taxable income. However the proposal didn’t go through.

Trump is scheduled to hold a press conference, where he will presumably do a victory lap and tout his administration’s first big legislative victory.

The White House has announced it will host a “bill passage event” later with congressional Republicans. But the White House press secretary Sara Sanders said: ”This is not a signing event as the bill would still need to be enrolled and that will happen at a later date.”

But celebrations were clearly underway, with a sense of triumph coursing through Republicans. They are just a few nominal steps away from a historical rewrite of the tax code, which they hope will stand them good stead during the mid-term elections next November.

“My colleagues, this is a day I have looked forward to for a very long time,” Speaker Paul Ryan said on Tuesday. “We are about to achieve some big things—things that the cynics have scoffed at for years, decades even … Today, we give the people of this country their money back.”

The bill cleared the House and the Senate in a vote along party lines, with no Republican defecting and no Democrat supporting its passage. Democrats hope to use the bill, seen as unpopular in multiple opinion polls, to hammer Republicans in the mid-term elections.

Nancy Pelosi, the leader of House Democrats, has called the bill “simply theft, monumental, brazen theft from the American middle class and from every person who aspires to reach it” and said it is not “a vote for an investment in growth or jobs. It is a vote to install a permanent plutocracy in our nation”.