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Congress Divided On GOP’s Proposed Tax Plan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Senate Republicans have unveiled their new tax plan as lawmakers scramble to pass President Donald Trump’s promised tax cuts before the end of the year.

“That means bigger paychecks for American families. It means fairer taxes. It means more jobs,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said of the House plan, just hours before the Senate unveiled its version of the bill.

House Republicans want to reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to four. The Senate’s version is expected to keep the current seven.

Senators also want to double the standardized deduction but eliminate all itemized deductions.

“$1,182 dollars is how much the typical American household will see in their paychecks thanks to the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. That’s an average household of four earning $59,000,” Ryan said. “We’re doubling the standard deduction, we’re increasing the child tax credit, we’re lowering tax rates across the board.”

“By doubling the standard exemption, right there 90 percent of Americans will fill out their taxes — picture this in your mind — on a form the size of a postcard,” he continued. “No. 2, when you actually say for your first $24,000 instead of $12,000 that’s tax free. If you have children, you’re going to have a $1,600 per child tax credit.”

Senate Republicans want to eliminate state and local tax deductions. The House plan would allow property tax deductions up to $10,000.

“I am suggesting to you that the overwhelming majority of the American people will see a demonstrably clear tax relief that they can palpably feel,” Republican Rep. Trent Franks said.

The question is can the Republican House and Senate pass a compromising tax bill by the end of the year and will enough Democrats get on board?

“If you can use an analogy we’re all on the same team, we want to get to the same end zone and sometimes we call slightly different plays in the House and Senate but that’s the way the process works,” Republican Sen. John Thune said.

New York Sen. Senator Chuck Schumer said Republicans should look at the Democratic sweep in Tuesday’s elections as a sign to rethink their tax plan entirely.

“It should be a giant stop sign for their tax bill,” Schumer said. “Where did they get clobbered? In the suburbs. Where does the tax bill clobber middle class and upper middle people? In the suburbs.”

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney says the president is committed to a plan that will help the middle class.

“At the end of the day, if we really believe this is a middle class tax increase, he’s not going to sign it,” Mulvaney said.

The Senate bill also limits the group of Americans that pays estate taxes to the ultra-wealthy, but does not eliminate the tax entirely, as the House bill would.

“The people who are happiest about this are the CEOs,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “But the other truth is 38 million middle class households are facing a Republican tax hike.”

The House GOP plan would also permanently slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent while senators want to delay the corporate tax cut for one year.

“I’m hoping in the end there will be Democrats who will vote for it, I think there are going to be enough features about this bill that will be attractive to them, that we may attract some Democrats but right now we won’t know,” Thune said.

But at least one Democratic senator says convincing him to get on board will not be an easy task.

“So we say to our Republican friends on this tax bill — as Clint Eastwood said — you want to pass this tax bill? You want to hurt the suburbs? ‘Make our day,'” Schumer said.

So what happens now?

A Senate committee will review the bill and try to come up with compromise to close the gap between the House and Senate with the goal of passing a tax bill before Christmas. A conference committee will ultimately decide on a compromised version of both bills, which goes to the president’s desk.

“Why are we going to conference? Because we’re doing this the right way. We’re doing this regular order,” Ryan said. “But the House will pass its bill, the Senate will pass its bill, then we will get together and reconcile the differences.”

The House Ways and Means Committee just passed its version of the tax bill Thursday. Representatives are expected to vote on the bill sometime next week.

The Senate version goes to committee now, before the bill is presented on the Senate floor for a vote.

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