House Approves Controversial GOP Tax Bill
December 20, 2017
House approves tax reform bill, sending the package to President Trump; Senate GOP pushes off two ObamaCare bills into next year; U.S. home sales hit 11-year high, supply still tight.
- House approves tax reform bill, sending the package to President Trump. In a 224-201 vote, the House passed the tax reform bill after three provisions had to be taken out because they did not follow Senate budget rules. The Senate approved the bill early on Wednesday morning. No Democrats in either chamber voted for the bill, and only 12 House Republicans voted against the bill. Most of them were from New York, New Jersey and California districts that would be hit by new limits on deductions for state, local and property taxes. In the Senate, every Republican present backed the bill. In addition to cutting taxes, the bill effectively repeals ObamaCare’s individual mandate requiring people to buy health insurance and allows for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the bill will add nearly $1.5 trillion to the deficit in its first decade, yet Republicans argued that the bill would create economic growth that would generate additional revenue to offset the costs. [The Hill]
- Senate GOP pushes off two ObamaCare bills into next year. GOP Senators Susan Collins (Maine) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) said they have asked Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to not bring up the ObamaCare bills this week, as lawmakers are scrambling to avoid a government shutdown. Collins and Alexander said the ObamaCare legislation could wait until after the Senate considers must-pass bills, including a full-year funding deal, in January. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- U.S. home sales hit 11-year high, supply still tight. U.S. home sales increased more than expected in November, hitting the highest level in nearly 11 years, indicating that the housing market is regaining momentum after almost stalling this year. The report on Wednesday from the National Association of Realtors supported data ranging from the labor market to retail sales that have suggested the economy was ending 2017 on a strong note. Existing home sales surged 5.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.81 million units last month amid recovers in areas in the South after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and solid gains in other parts of the country. That was the highest level since December 2006, marking the third straight monthly rise. Economists had forecast home sales rising only 0.9 percent to a 5.52 million-unit arte in November. Existing home sales make up about 90 percent of total U.S. home sales. They rose 3.8 percent on a year-on-year basis in November. [Reuters]