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Tax bill advances in committee, final Senate vote uncertain

By in Press Enterprise on November 28, 2017

By The Associated Press

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER and MARCY GORDON

The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A key Senate committee advanced a sweeping tax package to the full Senate on Tuesday, handing Republican leaders a victory as they try to pass the nation’s first tax overhaul in 31 years.

The Senate Budget Committee voted 12-11 to advance the bill as two committee Republicans who had said they were considering voting against the measure — Bob Corker of Tennessee and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — backed the legislation.

President Donald Trump personally lobbied Republican senators at the Capitol on Tuesday and the bill passed with little fanfare other than a few protesters who tried to disrupt the vote. All 11 Democrats were opposed.

The White House celebrated the vote.

“The momentum driving our shared priorities of job growth, economic competiveness, and fiscal responsibility through tax reform is undeniable,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

As a sweetener for some Republicans, the budget committee added a provision to the tax bill that would allow oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Drilling in the refuge has long been a contentious issue, pitting environmentalists against those who want to increase domestic oil production.

The bill still faces hurdles in the Senate with at least six senators raising sometimes contradicting concerns.

It got a boost Tuesday when Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, won support to amend the bill to allow homeowners to deduct at least a portion of their local property taxes on their federal tax returns.

The current Senate bill repeals the entire state and local tax deduction, which helps more than 43 million families reduce their federal tax bills. Collins said Trump and Senate GOP leaders agreed to amend the bill to allow homeowners to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes, which is similar to a provision in the House-passed […]    

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