Try 1 month for 99¢

President Donald Trump speaks during a bill passage event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, to acknowledge the final passage of tax overhaul legislation by congress. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Republicans are celebrating the passage of a $1.5 trillion tax plan — the first legislative victory for the GOP since President Donald Trump took office in January. 

The Senate passed the bill early Wednesday. The House approved the legislation Tuesday afternoon, but had to vote again Wednesday after some provisions were removed to allow for the Senate to consider the plan. 

The Senate vote was 51-48 along party lines. The second House vote was 224-201. No Democrats voted for the bill. There were 12 Republicans, including five from New York, who opposed the measure. 

The tax bill will lower income tax rates for most Americans until 2026 and the corporate tax rate will be slashed from 35 to 21 percent. The standard deduction will be doubled for single filers and married couples. But the personal exemption and most other credits and deductions will be eliminated. 

One of the four Republicans who voted for the bill was U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney. She supported the legislation, in part, because she believes the nation's current tax policy is broken. 

"Our tax code will now reflect the values of fairness and hard work," Tenney, R-New Hartford, said. "Without these tax cuts, our economy will continue to be stagnant and American competitiveness will continue to suffer." 

Supporters of the bill touted other provisions that they say will help taxpayers and boost the economy. The child tax credit will be expanded from $1,000 to $2,000 and a new 20 percent deduction will be available for pass-through businesses. 

The legislation increases the exemption for the alternative minimum tax and doubles the amount exempted from the estate tax. 

But critics note that the bill will largely benefit the wealthy and large corporations. And while the corporate tax cut is permanent, the income tax cuts are not. That could set the stage for a tax increase in 2026 if Congress doesn't act. 

There were provisions in the House or Senate bills that were either left out or modified in the final tax bill. House Republicans wanted to calculate tuition waivers for graduate students who are research or teaching assistants as taxable income. This would have raised taxes on graduate students by thousands of dollars. 

The final bill doesn't include this provision. The graduate student tuition waivers will not be considered taxable income. 

House Republicans also wanted to eliminate the historic preservation tax credit. The final bill modifies the credit so that the benefits will be paid out over a five-year period instead of a one-year payment. 

For New York Republicans, an issue that divided the delegation was the state and local tax deduction. Earlier proposals called for the complete elimination of the ability to deduct state and local income, property and sales taxes. 

A compromise was reached to allow taxpayers to deduct up to $10,000 of state and local property taxes. That was expanded in the final to include income and sales taxes. 

While the agreement was enough to secure some support, other Republicans opposed the final bill. 

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, a North Country Republican, cited the changes to the state and local tax deduction as a main reason why she voted against the tax plan. 

"While progress has been made during the conference committee, the final bill does not adequately protect the state and local tax deduction that so many in our district and across New York rely on," Stefanik, R-Willsboro, said. 

After the final passage of the bill Wednesday, Republicans gathered at the White House to celebrate the legislative feat. Tenney and U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, a western New York Republican, were among those who attended the event. 

Trump did not sign the tax bill Wednesday. He may wait until January to sign the legislation, according to reports. 

Here is how the New York congressional delegation voted on the GOP tax plan: 


Rep. Chris Collins (R), Rep. John Katko (R), Rep. Tom Reed (R), Rep. Claudia Tenney (R)


Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D), Rep. Yvette Clarke (D), Rep. Joseph Crowley (D), Rep. Dan Donovan (R), Rep. Eliot Engel (D), Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D), Rep. John Faso (R), Rep. Brian Higgins (D), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D), Rep. Peter King (R), Rep. Nita Lowey (D), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D), Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D), Rep. Grace Meng (D), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D), Rep. Kathleen Rice (D), Rep. Jose Serrano (D), Rep. Louise Slaughter (D), Rep. Elise Stefanik (R), Rep. Tom Suozzi (D), Rep. Paul Tonko (D), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D), Rep. Lee Zeldin (R)

Subscribe to Breaking News

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.