Breaking News from Washington, D.C.
The United States Senate passed the most sweeping tax bill in decades early Saturday morning. The bill passed by narrow margin, 51-49, and the voting was mostly along party lines. Only one GOP senator voted against the bill. The GOP-led tax measure could affect numerous aspects of the United States economy, small business owners, and multinational corporations.
The Senate version of the tax bill aims to energize U.S. businesses.
The measure would cut corporate taxes to a permanent rate of 20 percent, down from 35 percent and would allow for a repatriation of corporate profits held offshore at a one-time tax rate of 10 percent. Estimates suggest that U.S. corporations have permanently reinvested some $2.6 trillion in profits overseas. Other provisions could help smaller businesses. For instance, the Senate version would make current expensing rules more generous, allowing more businesses to write off the new equipment they purchase immediately.
The bill raises conflict concerning Arctic drilling for fossil fuels.
The Senate bill proposes to open a 1.5-million-acre stretch of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, known as the 1002 Area, to oil and gas development. The measure drew support from of the Alaska delegation, but it reflects a 40-year-old duel between the oil industry and conservationists. What’s more, an amendment introduced on Friday night by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) will allow oil and gas firms that are Publically Traded Partnerships (PTP) to benefit from increased tax savings available to this unique type of business organization.
The Bill address education costs for private and religious schools.
Vice President Mike Pence provided a tiebreaking vote to pass an amendment offered by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) that would permit up to $10,000 a year from tax-advantaged 529 savings accounts to fund tuition at private and religious K-12 schools or certain educational expenses for home-schooled students. Right now, such accounts can only be used to pay for higher education.
The tax bills from the House and Senate Head to Committee Conference.
The House and Senate tax bills differ on various key provisions. The two bills have to be reconciled. On Monday, December 4th, Congress voted to send the House tax bill to a Conference Committee, where lawmakers from both chambers can hash out differences.
Stay tuned to The Network for move coverage of the 2017 tax re-write and its industry-facing impact.