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House, Senate Republicans agree on tax plan, include windfall for the wealthiest

House, Senate Republicans agree on tax plan, include windfall for the wealthiest

The total amount of tax breaks in the legislation can not exceed $1.5 trillion over the next decade, under budget rules adopted by the House and Senate.

President Donald Trump insisted Wednesday that his tax cut is all about helping the middle class even as Republican leaders formed a last-minute plan to cut the top rate paid by million-dollar earners.

The House and Senate will establish a "Conference Committee" where a select group of members from each chamber will work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.

In the end, more of the Senate bill appeared to be included in the final version, though lawmakers continued to make significant changes from the legislation that passed either the House or Senate.

The emerging congressional agreement includes a 21-percent corporate rate; a top individual income tax rate of 37 percent, down from the current 39.6 percent level; and a $10,000 cap on deducting state and local property or income tax payments, said sources familiar with the negotiations.

At a tax event held by Democrats, Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi said the Republican bill, if enacted, would cause interest rates to rise, meaning the benefits of a lower corporate tax rate would be "completely washed out".

Still unclear is the overall cost of the revised legislation, which can not exceed the $1.5 trillion bucket lawmakers have allowed if they want to pass the bill without Democratic support.

With their defeat on Tuesday in an Alabama special Senate election, Republicans were under increased pressure to complete their tax overhaul before Christmas and before a new Democratic Alabama senator can be formally seated in the Senate. The Republican goal is to deliver to President Donald Trump the first major rewrite of the US tax system in more than three decades.

"As a candidate, I promised we would pass a massive tax cut for the everyday working American families who are the backbone and the heartbeat of our country", he said. The House and Senate bills will both put more money in the pockets of hard-working Georgia families, ensure a competitive environment for American businesses and create good-paying jobs.

Among the other tax breaks, negotiators agreed to eliminate the alternative minimum tax for corporations, a big sticking point for the business community, the aides said.

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The first and second compromise options ITEP analyzed earlier this week would attempt to address this problem by allowing some taxpayers to deduct a limited amount of state and local income tax.

"The market is trading at all-time highs, its run-up has been really in anticipation of tax reform", said Ken Polcari, NYSE floor division director at O'Neil Securities in NY.

Democrat Doug Jones' victory in Alabama came hours ahead of the final tax deal.

Now some Republican leaders are claiming that the answer to this problem is not to allow more generous deductions at all but rather to lower the top income tax rate to 37 percent.

Moving the corporate tax target rate to 21 percent from 20 percent gave tax writers enough revenue to make the tax cuts immediate, Republican Senator Ron Johnson told reporters.

The House bill would limit the mortgage interest deduction to the first $500,000 of a new mortgage, while the Senate bill would keep the current limit of $1 million.

PASS-THROUGH BUSINESSES: Creates a 20 percent business income deduction for owners of pass-through businesses, such as sole proprietorships and partnerships. That deduction will likely be lower than the 23 percent one in the Senate-passed bill. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said, "It's more than that".

Trump praised House and Senate negotiators in a lunch meeting at the White House.

Republicans, Trump said, "are very close to getting it done".

It is not clear if all Republican senators will roundly endorse the deal, which contains provisions that Collins and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida had raised concerns about earlier this week. "I do not believe the top rate should be lowered for individuals who are making more than $1 million a year", she said.

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