House Republicans on Tuesday approved sweeping changes to the U.S. tax code, barreling toward the GOP goal of passing the first major tax overhaul in decades by the end of the year.
It passed the chamber by a 227-203 margin, with Republicans erupting in cheers when the bill garnered enough support. Twelve Republicans — all from high-tax blue states — opposed the plan. As House members voted on the legislation, chants of “shame!” came down from protesters in the chamber’s gallery.
The House vote sends the broadly unpopular tax bill to the Senate, where Republicans are expected to push it through by Wednesday morning. With Senate passage, the legislation would go to President Donald Trump to sign it into law.
The GOP contends that the more than $1.4 trillion intax cuts contained in the bill will spark business investment, hiring and wage growth. Democrats call the Republican proposal a giveaway to corporations at the expense of the middle class, expressing concerns about the $1 trillion or more it is projected to add to federal budget deficits over a decade.
Republicans scrambled to accomplish their key legislative goal by the end of the year and notch an achievement to promote ahead of next year’s midterm elections. Democrats have seized on dismal public opinion polling on the plan and the fact that most individual tax cuts would expire under the plan while a corporate tax decrease would be permanent.
Speaking before the vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan called it “a day I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.” After temporarily getting interrupted by a woman in the House gallery calling him a liar, the Wisconsin Republican went on to describe what he called the benefits of the policies — a spark to job creation and economic growth.