GOP Tax Bill Signed Into Law
December 22, 2017
Trump signs tax bill into law; Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to support GOP tax plan; U.S. New Home Sales Grow to Highest Level in 10 Years in November; U.S. Personal Income Rises 0.3% in November, less than expected.
- Trump signs tax bill into law. President Trump on Monday unveiled a new national security strategy modeled on his “American First” campaign theme. The 55-page document, drafted over the course of a year, positions the United States in competition with “revisionist” powers like Russia and China.. Trump reiterated his campaign promises to strengthen U.S. borders and listed a number of moves he said delivered on those promises, including the withdrawal from the “job-killing” Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and the “expensive and unfair” Paris climate accord. Every president is mandated by Congress to issue a national security strategy to guide the administration’s decision making in foreign affairs. [The Hill]
- Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to support GOP tax plan. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said on Monday that she plans to support the GOP tax plan. Collins supported the Senate’s version after her amendments were included in the bill, as well as a promise from Senate GOP leadership to pass the bills aimed at stabilizing the individual health insurance market under ObamaCare. Several amendments that Collins suggested were incorporated into the bill, including restoring a $10,000 deduction for state and local property taxes and a lower threshold for deducting medical expenses. With Collins’ vote, Senate Republicans believe they have the votes to pass the tax plan as soon as Tuesday evening. With a 52-seat majority, they can only afford to lose two GOP senators and still allow Vice President Pence Break a tie. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is expected to miss the tax vote, and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who supported the Senate bill, has not said if he will back the conference agreement. However, GOP Sens. Bob Corker (Tenn.), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Mike Lee (Utah), three key holdouts, have said they will support the bill. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- U.S. New Home Sales Grow to Highest Level in 10 Years in November. The Commerce Department reported on Friday that new home sales surged 17.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 733,000 units last month. This was the highest level since July 2007, following October’s downwardly revised sales pace of 624,000 units. Compared to a year ago, new home sales increased 26.6 percent. This data, together with last month’s surge in single-family homebuilding and the sales of previously owned homes indicates that the housing market is gaining momentum again after stalling this year. Housing has been constrained by supply constraints, skilled labor and suitable land for building, in addition to temporary restraints by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Economists polled by Reuters had predicted new home sales falling 4.7 percent to a pace of 654,000 last month. New home sales, drawn from permits, are volatile on a month-to-month basis. [CNBC]
- U.S. Personal Income Rises 0.3% in November, less than expected. A report released by the Commerce Department on Friday showed a smaller than expected increase in U.S. personal income in November, while personal spending climbed by more than expected. According to the Commerce Department, personal income rose by 0.3 percent in November after increasing by 0.4 percent in October. Economists had predicted another 0.4 percent increase. Disposable personal income, defined as personal income less personal current taxes, increased by 0.4 percent for the third consecutive month. Real spending, adjusted to remove price changes, rose by 0.4 percent in November after being unchanged in the previous month. [Nasdaq]