GOP Tax Reform Is Now One Step Away From Being Law

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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Senators voted Wednesday afternoon to go to conference with House lawmakers to try and hammer out a final tax reform bill, a move that means Republicans are only one step away from overhauling the U.S. tax code.

Senators voted 51-47 Wednesday afternoon to start negotiations with the House over their respective tax reform bills passed in the last few weeks.

House lawmakers voted 222-192 Monday evening to go to conference with senators on tax reform. Seven Republican House members gave a thumbs down to the motion to move forward to conference, and 19 members abstained from voting.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan named the conferees Monday. House Republicans are sending GOP Reps. Kevin Brady of Texas, Devin Nunes of California, Peter Roskam of Illinois, Diane Black of Tennessee, Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Rob Bishop of Utah, Don Young of Alaska, Greg Walden of Oregon and John Shimkus of Illinois.

Republicans are trying to deliver a final bill to the president before lawmakers head back to their districts for the Christmas recess.

The president promised Tuesday that House and Senate lawmakers are ardently working to ensure the final iteration of tax reform “comes out very beautifully.”

Both chambers of Congress will definitely have a few key differences to reconcile before they can agree on a bill to send to Trump for approval.

The House bill, for example, cuts a number of itemized deductions significantly, while the Senate version keeps or expands many of them. The House caps the mortgage interest deduction and repeals the graduate student waver, student interest deduction and a number of other deductions. For its part, the Senate retains or bolsters all of those.

The chambers will also have to deal with the different treatment of individual tax brackets, the estate tax and a number of other differences.

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