WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday approved the Republican tax bill to overhaul the U.S. tax code, sending it to the Senate floor for a vote later this week.
The Republican-led Senate panel approved the legislation with a vote of 12-11, along the party lines. The full Senate could vote on the tax bill as early as Thursday, according to local media.
While Republicans have a majority of 52 seats in the Senate, they can only afford to lose two votes of GOP senators to pass the tax bill without any support from Democrats.
Democrats in the upper chamber have criticized that the tax bill would mostly benefit the wealthy and large corporations and increase the fiscal deficit.
The House of Representatives had passed its own version of tax reform legislation earlier this month, which contained significant differences from the Senate version.
If the Senate passes its own tax bill this week, Republicans plan to convene a conference committee next week to reconcile the House and Senate versions.
Overhauling the tax code is a top priority of Republicans and they are hoping to send the legislation to President Donald Trump's desk before Christmas.
However, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Sunday warned in a report that the Senate tax bill would negatively impact lower-income Americans, who earn less than 30,000 U.S. dollars per year.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) also said in a recent analysis that the Republican tax bill is unlikely to generate more than 0.1 percent points of increased growth per year, and over the long run it may actually slow the U.S. economic growth.
It remains unclear whether the Republican-controlled Congress will be able to pass a major tax overhaul, which could shape the congressional midterm elections next year.