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Senate tax bill delays corporate cut until 2019

By Ed Adamczyk and Danielle Haynes
Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., speaks on the proposed tax overhaul bill in Washington on November 7. The Senate Committee on Finance unveiled the Senate's version of the bill on Thursday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., speaks on the proposed tax overhaul bill in Washington on November 7. The Senate Committee on Finance unveiled the Senate's version of the bill on Thursday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Corporations would have to wait until 2019 to get a 15 percent drop in tax rates under the tax bill the Senate Committee on Finance released Thursday.

Under the Senate version of the legislation, the corporate tax rate would drop from 35 percent to 20 percent in a little more than a year. The House version immediately starts the 20 percent rate in 2018, which the White House backs.

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The tax-reform bill also does not repeal the individual insurance mandate under the Affordable Care Act, though that could change.

"There's been a lot of discussion on that and we're looking at it very seriously," Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said, adding that he would like to see the mandate eliminated.

The proposed Senate bill also eliminates taxpayer deductions for state and local taxes, a move that mostly affects people earning more than $100,000 a year.

The Senate bill includes an increase in the mortgage interest deduction, to $1 million. The House version caps the deduction at the first $500,000 of a mortgage. Businesses with large capital expenses will see lower tax rates than the House bill.

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The Senate bill also preserves the estate tax and the seven-bracket system; the House reduces the tax code to four brackets.

The House version offers a deduction for property taxes up to $10,000, a demand from about two dozen House Republicans from high-tax states.

President Donald Trump, in Asia, phoned in to a meeting of Senate Democrats on Wednesday, telling them the Senate version will be more accommodating to Democratic demands.

"You're going to like it a whole lot more," Trump said, two people present at the meeting told the Wall Street Journal.

Trump's comments complicate the GOP effort to present a united front while keeping both versions of the bill on track, with eventual reconciliation. He has praised the House version, so it is unclear if he prefers the Senate bill. Some Republican legislators in competitive election districts have concerns that they will be forced to vote in favor of a bill -- and show constituents they approve of their loss of favorite tax deductions -- only to have the bill fail.

Gary Cohn, National Economic Council director, said, "Don't get too hung up on the House bill," suggesting the White House is more invested in the Senate version.

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The unveiling of the Senate bill comes after Democratic candidates won numerous state and local races in Tuesday's off-year election. The Democratic successes are regarded by some as a repudiation of the Trump administration's policies. Republicans in Congress, which has not passed any meaningful legislation in 2017, are eager for a success on the tax overhaul issue to impress 2018 voters.

"There's a lot of pressure to do something now," Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said.

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