U.S. House Republicans unveil long-awaited tax cut bill

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-03 02:18:07|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday unveiled the long-awaited bill to overhaul the U.S. tax code in decades by significantly cutting individual and corporate income taxes.

The bill, called the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," was largely in line with the unified framework for tax reform that the Trump administration and congressional Republican leaders released in late September.

It would reduce the number of personal income tax brackets from seven to four, while keeping the top individual income tax rate at 39.6 percent. It would also cut the corporate income tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent.

"This is our opportunity to make tax reform a reality and deliver the most transformational tax cuts in a generation," Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the tax-writing committee, said Thursday at a press conference.

The budget resolution approved by the House and Senate allows for tax legislation that would increase the federal deficit by 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars over 10 years. In order to partly offset the lost revenue by deep tax cuts, House Republicans proposed to curtail the deductions individuals take for mortgage interests and state and local property taxes.

The bill would cap the mortgage-interest deduction for newly-purchased homes at 500, 000 dollars, down from the current cap of one million dollars. The legislation would also cap the deduction for state and local property taxes at 10,000 dollars.

Meanwhile, it would not allow taxpayers to deduct their state and local income or sales taxes. These controversial proposals are likely to meet with resistance from consumers and the housing industry.

"The bill eviscerates existing housing tax benefits by drastically reducing the number of home owners who can take advantage of mortgage interest and property tax incentives," Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, said Thursday in a statement.

"The House Republican tax reform plan abandons middle-class taxpayers in favor of high-income Americans and wealthy corporations," he said.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi also attacked the legislation as a "deficit-increasing, job-killing, tax-cutting-for-the-rich bill."

"The priorities of the Ryan-McConnell bill have been clear from the start: perpetuating a catastrophic transfer of wealth from the middle class to corporations and the wealthy," Pelosi said Thursday at a press conference, referring to House and Senate Republican leaders.

House Republicans currently plan to pass the tax bill by the Thanksgiving week and then send it to the Senate for consideration. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he wanted to sign the tax bill by Christmas.

"I want the House to pass a bill by Thanksgiving. I want all the people standing by my side when we sign by Christmas," Trump said during a meeting with industry leaders at the White House.

Trump and Republican leaders are under pressure to deliver a major legislative victory on tax reform before next year's congressional midterm elections, as they have failed to pass a bill to repeal and replace the controversial Obamacare earlier in the year.