Senate poised to pass US tax overhaul despite last-minute snag
Washington: The US Senate was poised to approve a sweeping tax overhaul Tuesday, putting President Donald Trump on the brink of his first major legislative victory nearly a year after he took office.
The deepest revamp of the tax code in three decades provides sweeping tax breaks to US corporations, and families at all incomes levels will see their income tax drop starting next year, with the largest benefits going to the wealthy.
But even if the Senate approves the $1.5 trillion package, Trump, who has pushed hard to get it across the finish line, will be forced to delay celebrations until Wednesday morning.
Hours earlier, the bill cleared the House of Representatives, and its Republican leaders thought their work was done.
But a last-minute snag will force the House to vote on the package once more on Wednesday, after a Senate parliamentarian stripped out three provisions found to be in violation of the chamber's guidelines on the kinds of legislation that can pass the Senate with just a simple majority.
The Senate vote was headed to a showdown. But Republicans, who hold a 52-48 majority, appeared to have enough support after holdouts against the measure, including Senator Bob Corker and Senator Marco Rubio, backed off their threats to defect.
With Senator John McCain, who has brain cancer, announcing he will not return to Washington until January, the Republican cushion sits at just one, and no Republicans are publicly opposed.
In the House, 12 Republicans joined all Democrats in opposition as the bill passed 227 to 203, drawing loud cheers and applause from Republicans in the chamber.
"Today we are giving the people of this country their money back," House Speaker Paul Ryan told his colleagues.
Trump tweeted his congratulations to Ryan and all other "great House Republicans who voted in favor of cutting your taxes!"
The procedural snafu only became apparent afterward.