WASHINGTON — With a 224-201 vote, the U.S. House gave final passage to a major overhaul of the American tax code Wednesday, sending the measure to President Donald Trump's desk and marking the first significant legislative achievement of the Republican-controlled government this year.
Wednesday's House vote followed on the heels of votes in both chambers backing the $1.5 trillion bill, though an unexpected hitch prompted the House to have to vote again on it. After the House first approved the measure on a 227-203 vote Tuesday, House GOP leaders abruptly announced that they expected Senate Democrats to push back on the bill for violating some of the upper chamber's parliamentary rules.
The Senate ultimately approved the measure in the early hours of Wednesday with minor changes, prompting the House to give the bill the final passage it needed hours later.
Both of the state's senators – Republicans Ted Cruz and John Cornyn – voted for the overhaul. In the House, the 36-member Texas delegation vote fell along strict partisan lines Tuesday. That outcome repeated itself on Wednesday, though U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, was not present for Wednesday's vote due to a family matter.
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Trump is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days.
Two Texas figures have been central to moving the bill forward: Cornyn, the lead Senate vote-counter, and U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, the House Ways and Means committee chairman from The Woodlands.
The bill offers significant cuts in corporate taxes and, for some taxpayers, major changes to deductions. How each American is affected will be impacted by geography, family size, salary and whether a taxpayer itemizes deductions.
Republicans have bullish expectations for the tax bill's impact on the American economy and many suggest that the expected boost in wages and other effects will offset lost revenue to government coffers. But most economists anticipate the cuts will increase the national deficit by at least $1 trillion over the next 10 years.
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