Tuesday December 18th, 2018 6:06AM

The Latest: White House hails 'important step' on tax bill

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Republican tax overhaul legislation (all times local):

4:10 p.m.

The White House is praising the House Ways and Means Committee for approving the Republican Party's tax cut package.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders calls Thursday's party-line vote an "important step toward providing historic tax relief for the American people." The legislation now goes to the full House.

The House GOP proposal dramatically cuts corporate taxes, doubles the personal standard deduction, and simplifies the tax code by eliminating a host of tax breaks. Senate Republicans released their own version of the legislation Thursday.

After the failure of Republican efforts to repeal the Obama health care law, tax reform remains the only potential big-ticket legislative accomplishment for President Donald Trump's first year in office.

Sanders says the administration remains "confident" the tax bill will pass this year.


3:30 p.m.

A House panel has approved far-reaching Republican legislation to deeply cut taxes for corporations, double the personal standard deduction and simplify the tax code.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted 24-16 along party lines to deliver the complex measure to the full House. It would shrink the number of income brackets from seven to four. The Republicans promote the nearly $6 trillion measure as a boon to the middle class. Democrats say it's a tax bounty for the rich.

Republicans are pushing to drive the legislation through Congress and get it to President Donald Trump by Christmas.

The bill would reduce personal taxes for many but also limit deductions for homeowners and end them for people with steep medical bills and student loans. It would increase the child tax credit.


3:00 p.m.

Senate Republicans are joining Washington's tax debate with a proposal to slash the corporate tax rate to 20 percent and cutting the top individual rate for the wealthy by about 1 percentage point.

The plan unveiled Thursday differs from a companion House measure in key respects by preserving the home mortgage interest deduction, a tax credit for adoption expenses, and a deduction for people slammed by high medical expenses.

The measure unveiled by the Senate Finance Committee faces a vote by that panel next week and a floor vote in December.

The bill would create seven tax brackets for individuals with the top rate set at 38.5 percent for top earners. Every tax filer would get a $24,000 standard deduction, meaning far fewer people would itemize deductions on their returns.


2:02 p.m.

House Republicans are restoring the adoption tax credit to their overhaul legislation after protests by family advocate groups and other interests.

The amendment to the legislation by Rep. Kevin Brady, chair of the House's tax-writing committee, proposes other complex changes to the bill nearing approval by the panel, including an array of business tax proposals which would in some cases further reduce tax rates.

The bill would steeply cut taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals, and double the standard deduction used by most average Americans. It retains its partial repeal of the federal deduction for state and local income and property taxes.

Brady's proposal comes as the Senate unveiled its version of the tax overhaul, keeping the current deduction for up to $1 million in interest paid on mortgages. The House bill reduces that to $500,000 for new home purchases.


1:50 p.m.

The Senate's version of the GOP tax overhaul bill would leave a tax deduction for expenses associated with adopting children alone while providing a slightly larger per-child tax credit of $1,650 than the House measure.

Sen. John Hoeven also told reporters that the top tax rate for individuals, currently set at 39.6 percent, would drop to 38.5 percent under the draft Senate measure.

The South Dakota Republican said the measure also preserves existing clean energy tax incentives such as for electricity production from wind. It preserves a tax credit for electric cars as well.

The Senate bill also proposes seven tax brackets rather than the three brackets proposed under the House tax bill.

The House measure proposes increasing the per-child tax credit to $1,600 and making it available to a greater number of upper middle-class families.


12:45 p.m.

The emerging Senate tax overhaul measure wouldn't touch the mortgage interest deduction, as a concession to the powerful real estate lobby.

That's according to a Senate GOP source familiar with the details on the legislation being released Thursday afternoon.

The move means homebuyers would still to be able to deduct interest payments on loans of up to $1 million as permitted under current law. The House bill would reduce the limit to $500,000.

The real estate industry warns that would hurt the housing market, especially in more affluent areas.

The measure also would delay a cut to in the corporate tax rate to 20 percent until 2019.

The GOP source was not authorized to discuss the measure before it is public and spoke on condition of anonymity.


3:29 a.m.

The Senate version of the Republicans' tax overhaul is set to be unveiled with billions in tax cuts for people and corporations, repeal of the federal deduction for state and local taxes, and a likely compression of the personal income tax brackets from seven to four.

The House measure, meanwhile, nears approval by the tax-writing committee after last-minute changes by its primary author.

The legislation pulling the attention of lawmakers in both chambers would bring the first major reshaping of the U.S. tax code in three decades.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch plans to take the wraps off the new Senate bill on Thursday. In the House, Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady was making changes before the panel votes Thursday to deliver it to the full House.

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