The United States House of Representatives has passed President Donald Trump's flagship tax reform bill. The legislation could be Trump's first major victory following a raft of previous headline-grabbing failures.
The US House of Representatives on Thursday voted 227-205 along party lines to approve a $1.5 trillion (€1.27 trillion) Republican tax bill that would overhaul business and personal taxes.
The bill now goes to the floor of the US Senate, which has struggled to put together tax legislation of its own. US Congress has not passed comprehensive tax reform since 1986 — when the late Ronald Reagan was president.
Details of the tax reform
The tax reform bill is a big victory for Donald Trump, who has failed on other big legislative reforms
"Passing this bill is the single best thing we can do to grow the economy, to restore opportunity and help those middle income families who are struggling," said Paul Ryan, the House Speaker and a Republican representative from Wisconsin.
"[President Trump] told us that we have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something really bold, and he reminded us that is why we seek these offices," Republican Representative Steve Womack of Arkansas said.
"Republicans have brought forth a bill that is pillaging the middle class to pad the pockets of the wealthiest and hand tax breaks to corporations shipping jobs out of America," said Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Minority Leader. "It's a shameful piece of legislation, and the Republicans should know better."
Ron Johnson of Minnesota was the first Senate Republican to publicly oppose the bill, saying it handed major corporations major tax breaks while smaller businesses are taxed individually and treated differently. "I'm not going to vote for this package," he said, and told American broadcaster CNBC that he's "trying to fix it."
"Whatever is wrong with this bill, we've got to make it better," Republican Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina told American broadcaster Fox News. "If we fail, we are dead.... That's the end of the Republican majority."
"We'll find a middle ground and we'll get it to the president's desk... This is a big deal for us," Republican Representative Tom Cole of Louisiana told MSNBC.
Failed Trump legislation in 2017
The House passing this tax legislation is a big victory for Trump, who has had trouble getting legislation passed in the first year of his presidency. His biggest failure came in healthcare as Republicans failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which is colloquially known as "Obamacare."
Attempts to institute travel bans for visitors from several Middle Eastern countries have faltered in courts. Trump's latest travel ban was allowed to partially take effect, exempting people with direct family members or jobs in the US. The ban is still being challenged in several courts across the country.
A main part of Trump's campaign platform was building a wall along the US-Mexico border. He has not gained a lot of ground on that campaign promise, though the US has selected a shortlist of contractors to build the wall.
dv/rt (AP, AFP, Reuters)