Senate Republicans passed along party lines the most sweeping rewrite of the tax code in decades early Saturday morning. A copy of the bill, which was unveiled just hours before the vote, is available here.
The House will vote today on a motion to go to conference with the Senate to iron out the differences between the Senate’s bill and the bill that the House passed last month. A resulting conference report must then be passed by each chamber before putting the final bill on President Trump’s desk, which GOP leaders hope to do before Christmas. Republicans in the House and Senate are confident that the differences between the two bills are not irreconcilable. However, there are some notable differences: how the estate tax will be handled, when certain tax cuts will expire, repealing the individual mandate under Obamacare, the treatment of pass-through businesses, education incentives and medical expenses, just to name a few. There are also differences with respect to renewable energy incentives, which we discussed in our prior blog post here.
Whether any of these items will be a sticking point is anyone’s guess, but Republicans are under tremendous pressure to get the bill signed into law so that they can claim a legislative victory before elections next November, especially after their failure to repeal Obamacare. Republican law makers will need to smooth over these differences as Congress simultaneously faces a December 8th deadline to extent the current continuing resolution to keep the government running, Alabama gets ready for its special Senate election, and the Russia investigation encircles the White House. Nonetheless, with members in both the House and Senate already on record with their votes, we believe that the prospect that tax reform is passed is strong.