House Passes GOP Tax Reform Bill 227-205

The House on Thursday voted to narrowly pass the Republican tax reform bill with 13 House Republican Members joining Democrats in opposition. No Democrats supported the bill.

According to Politico, “The legislation would slash the corporate tax rate to 20 percent starting next year, down from 35 percent. It sets the top small business rate at 25 percent for pass-through entities and also includes a far lower rate of 9 percent for some types of small businesses on the first $75,000 of profits.

“For individuals, it axes a number of popular deductions, including the state and local tax deduction, medical expenses deduction and student loan deductions but would double the standard deduction and condense the seven tax brackets into three.”

Ahead of the vote, President Trump made his way to Capitol Hill and met with House Republican members to help garner support for the bill.

“This is the biggest tax cut in the history of our country,” Trump said of the bill. “Let’s go do this.”

The Senate tax bill markup continues in the Finance Committee. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he expects to bring the Senate bill to the floor the week following the Thanksgiving holiday.

NDAA Contains Funding for Three Littoral Combat Ships Built In-Part by Austal USA in Mobile

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Fairhope, vice-chairman of the House Seapower Subcommittee, applauded House passage of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

House and Senate negotiations resulted in authorization for three Littoral Combat Ships, which are built in-part by Austal USA in Mobile.

“I am specifically thrilled the bill calls for construction of 13 new Navy vessels, including three more Littoral Combat Ships, which are built in Alabama,” Rep. Byrne said. “A strong and capable Navy is critical to our national security but also vital to global economic stability. Our entire nation is stronger when the United States Navy is stronger.”

Alabama’s seven-member congressional delegation voted for the bill, which passed by a vote of 356 to 70. The annual NDAA sets policy and authorizes spending for the entire U.S. military.

Earlier this year, Rep. Byrne warned that the Senate-version of the NDAA failed to adequately support the LCS program and could have resulted in layoffs at the Austal shipyard. Austal USA is the area’s top private sector employer with approximately 4,000 direct employees and thousands of other jobs indirectly tied to the shipyard.


Modified Senate Tax Bill Leaves Lower Corporate Tax Rate but Makes Individual Cuts Temporary
The Hill (Jagoda 11/14) “Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) released a modified version of the Senate tax bill late Tuesday that includes two key changes: the previously announced elimination of the ObamaCare individual insurance mandate and a sunsetting of individual tax rates in 2025.

“The sunset clause in Hatch’s ‘modified mark’ would mean the new individual rates in the Senate bill would end 10 years after their creation. The Senate bill also reduces the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. This would be permanent and would not sunset. Democrats already opposed to the tax bill may seize on the fact that the individual rates will expire, while the corporate reduction is permanent.

“Hatch’s modifications also include several provisions aimed at helping the middle class and shoring up support from GOP senators. But the new individual rates, the larger standard deduction and child tax credit, the 17.4 percent deduction of income from pass-through businesses and the repeal of the individual alternative minimum tax would all be among the provisions that expire. The end of the ObamaCare individual mandate would not sunset.

The Finance Committee is expected to approve the tax bill by the end of the week, and the Senate is expected to consider the bill on the floor the week after Thanksgiving.”

Analysis: Another Take on Proposed Tax Bill
Roll Call Williams (11/15) “The latest version of the Senate bill to overhaul the U.S. tax code solves some problems for Republican leadership, but potentially creates a host of others. [C]uts would now be temporary and expire in 2026. At the same time, the proposal would make the reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent permanent.

“The updated chairman’s mark would direct more tax relief to lower and middle-class Americans through several new provisions, including a proposed reduction in the tax rates for the current seven income brackets. But those cuts would now be temporary and expire in 2026. At the same time, the proposal would make the reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent permanent.

“If there were any doubts that Republicans were bent on advancing the tax bill with only GOP support – allowable under the fast-track budget procedure the party is using – those were squashed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. ‘This is largely a partisan exercise’, the Kentucky Republican said on Tuesday at a Wall Street Journal CEO Council event. One major sticking point for Democrats (and maybe some Republicans) will be the last-minute attempt by the GOP to gut the 2010 health law. The inclusion of the repeal opened up over $300 billion in additional revenue, but thrust what is sure to be a controversial health care debate into already complex negotiations on the tax bill.”