Saturday, December 02 2017
In the early morning of December 2, the Senate passed by a 51-49 vote their version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) agreed to a yes vote when several amendments she offered were incorporated into the bill, including the restoration of a $10,000 deduction for property taxes and a lower threshold for deducting medical expenses.
Previous Republican holdouts — Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Steve Daines (R-MJT) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) threw their support behind the bill once they were assured their concerns were addressed – including increasing the deduction for pass-through entities from 17.4 to 23 percent and a gradual phase-out of §179 expensing. Also included was the return of the alternative minimum tax provisions for individuals and corporations. Thresholds would be increased and adjusted for inflation.
The Senate bill includes the repeal of the individual mandate clause of the Affordable Care Act, which requires most to have health insurance or pay a penalty. If the Senate's proposal remains in the final version, then beginning in 2019, there would be no penalty if taxpayers go without coverage. The penalty would remain for 2018.
The House and Senate are expected to work out the differences between the two proposals over the next weeks in joint committee. Several key differences remain. Once an agreement is reached between both chambers of Congress, the bill will go to the president for signature.