The House on Thursday passed legislation to overhaul the tax code, moving Republicans one step closer to achieving the top item on their legislative agenda.
The measure was approved by a vote of 227-205. No Democrats voted for the bill, while 13 Republicans broke ranks to oppose it.
“Passing this bill is the single biggest thing we can do to grow the economy, to restore opportunity and help these middle-income families who are struggling,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said ahead of the vote.
Once the bill reached the magic number for passage, Republicans in the chamber erupted into applause.
Democrats mockingly joined in, with some singing “na na na na, hey hey, goodbye,” like they did when the chamber passed an ObamaCare repeal bill earlier this year.
Besides Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), who had concerns about the bill’s impact on the debt, all of the GOP no votes came from the states of New York, New Jersey and California.
Opposing the bill were New York Reps. Dan Donovan, John Faso, Pete King, Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin; New Jersey Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen, Leonard Lance, Frank LoBiondo and Chris Smith, and California Reps. Darrell Issa, Tom McClintock and Dana Rohrabacher.
Passage of the tax bill, which was unveiled just two weeks ago, was relatively drama-free compared to the GOP’s failed effort to repeal ObamaCare earlier this year.
The stakes are high for Republicans, who are feeling pressure to show that they can govern ahead of next year’s midterm elections. The Democratic wave in last week’s gubernatorial and state house elections in Virginia and New Jersey has only added to their anxiety.
GOP leaders are hoping to get legislation to President Trump’s desk by Christmas, an ambitious timeline given the obstacles that are mounting in the Senate.
Ahead of the House vote, Trump visited the Capitol to rally the House GOP conference in support of the bill. The president and his economic advisers have touted tax reform as the key to unlocking economic growth.
The measure approved Thursday would reduce the number of individual tax brackets, slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and eliminate a number of tax breaks and deductions.
The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimated that the bill would lower federal revenues by about $1.4 trillion over 10 years — a key finding, as the Republican budget only allows lawmakers to add $1.5 trillion to the debt during that time.
JCT said that all income groups would see a tax cut on average under the bill in 2019, but that some income groups, particularly those making $20,000 to $50,000, in some future years would see tax increases on average.
House Republicans who have labored for months on the tax bill celebrated the vote on Thursday, saying the GOP is on track to put more money in people’s pockets and spur investment in new jobs.