Saturday, 2 December 2017

The largest overhaul in America's tax system for 31 years has been approved by the US Senate

Donald Trump wants to sign the bill into law before the end of the year
The overhaul includes a strike against Barack Obama's healthcare law, with millions at risk of losing their health insurance.

US stock markets have rallied for months in the hope that Washington would provide major tax cuts for corporations and Saturday's 51-49 vote in favour of the changes is set to result in a bill that will see the corporate tax rate slashed from 35% to 20%.

The tax reductions for big businesses will see $1.4tn added to the $20tn national debt over the next 10 years, which the President and his fellow Republicans believe will boost an already growing economy.

The Senate and the House of Representatives - both controlled by the Republicans - are likely to begin talks over crafting a bill next week, with Mr Trump - who promised tax reform during his election campaign - hoping to sign it into law by Christmas.

Taking to Twitter to celebrate, Mr Trump said: "We are one step closer to delivering MASSIVE tax cuts for working families across America. Special thanks to @SenateMajLdr Mitch McConnell and Chairman @SenOrrinHatch for shepherding our bill through the Senate. Look forward to signing a final bill before Christmas!"

Republicans see the tax overhaul as crucial to their prospects in the mid-term elections in November 2018 - when they will have to defend their majorities in Congress - despite public protests against and polls showing little public enthusiasm for the measure.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said: "Big bills are rarely popular. You remember how unpopular 'Obamacare' was when it passed?"

President Obama's healthcare law was in the firing line of the tax overhaul, with it taking steps to remove the mandate for all Americans to obtain health insurance or face a tax penalty - a policy designed to ensure a more viable health insurance market by forcing younger and healthier Americans to buy coverage.

Experts say millions of people stand to lose their health insurance because of the changes, but Republican Senator Bill Cassidy said: "Working families and middle-income families across the nation will be better off. Families who over the last eight years have not done well will begin to do better."

Republican Senator John McCain - who in July passed what looked to have been the decisive vote to keep the Affordable Care Act - was among those who voted in favour of the reform.

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