On a party-line vote, the U.S. Senate late Friday passed its version of a tax reform bill, with one Montana senator saying it will increase wages and grow jobs while the other called the move “Washington at its worst.”
Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, found himself on the winning side of the vote, as Republicans joined together to pass the measure on a 51-49 vote.
“We are one step closer to a once-in-a-generation opportunity to grow jobs and increase wages for Montana farmers, ranchers, small businesses owners and working families.” Daines said. “The Senate bill prioritizes the drivers of our economy and the workers who make the engines run.”
According to Daines, the measure will lower the tax rate on middle-income earners and double the standard deduction. It would also double the child tax credit and provide tax breaks to job creators.
In late November, Daines said he would vote “no” on the bill but shifted course two days later after saying he had secured an additional $60 billion for Main Street businesses.
“I worked hard to increase tax relief for Main Street businesses that are responsible for two-thirds of all new jobs,” Daines said. “The updated Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes more than $100 billion in additional tax cuts for Main Street businesses, leveling the playing field between them and large corporations.”
Sen. Jon Tester, however, blasted the measure, saying he and other senators received the 479-page tax bill only minutes before the late-night vote. He said the bill had been modified with scribbled, hand-written changes added to the bill’s margin.
Tester added that some of the hand-written changes were illegible.
“This is what it really looks like – this is your government at work,” Tester said in a video, holding up a page of the bill. “We’re doing massive tax reform on an absolute incredible timeline. This is going to effect everyone in this country. It’s going to shift money from middle-class families to the rich, and we’ve been given this 25 minutes ago.”
Republicans passed the bill despite nonpartisan studies suggesting it would add $1.5 trillion to the national debt. Supporters argue the tax cuts will pay for themselves by producing enough economic growth to offset costs to the U.S. Treasury.
Democrats, however, warn that the bill will actually increase taxes on some middle-class families. Republicans in the House and Senate will now attempt to blend their separate versions of the bill and pass the final document.