The U.S. Capitol at dusk. Photo by the Architect via Wikimedia Commons

President Trump scored the first legislative victory of his presidency Saturday, with the Senate’s late night approval of a sweeping package of tax cuts and other fiscal changes.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was approved 51-49 along strict party lines at 1:51 a.m. Eastern Time, with all but one Republican approving and all Democrats voting against.

All senators from California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii voted against the bill.

“The tax plan approved tonight by my Republican colleagues is shameful,” said California Sen. Kamala Harris. “Tonight, corporations and the top 1 percent  of Americans won at the expense of middle class families. This is wrong and does not reflect the best of who we are as a country.”

“There is a better way to reform our tax code, one that is bipartisan, transparent, and fair for all Americans,” she added.

Residents of California and other states with expensive real estate and state income taxes are likely to pay more under the plan because of new limits on deductions.

The nearly 500-page bill was rushed through the Senate, with Democrats complaining that there was little time to study and react.

Among the key changes to the U.S. tax system under the Senate bill:

  • Tax cuts for about two-thirds of middle-class families, though these expire at the end of 2025
  • A permanent cut in the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent
  • Elimination of the deduction for state and local taxes paid
  • The deduction for local property taxes is capped at $10,000
  • Repeals the Obamacare individual mandate, which requires all America’s to have health insurance
  • Adds a tax on large private university endowments
  • Raises the threshold for paying estate taxes to $11 million for individuals and $22 million for married couples

The Congressional Budge Office estimates the changes will raise the deficit by $1.4 trillion over a decade, but supporters argued that the cuts will spur sufficient economic growth to offset that.

Congress must now address differences between the Senate bill and a similar House version that passed two weeks ago before forwarding the legislation to President Trump for signature.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.