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Senate passes tax reform conference agreement, with revisions

U.S. tax reform

The U.S. Senate in the early morning hours today passed, 51 to 48, a revised version of the conference report to H.R. 1, the tax reform bill.


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The conference report is the compromise bill, blending elements of both the previously passed House and Senate versions of the tax reform bill. The House earlier on December 19 passed the conference report by a vote of 227 to 203 (there were 12 House Republicans who voted against the bill). 

The Senate's parliamentarian, prior to Senate consideration of the conference report, made a determination that three provisions (listed below) did not comply with budget reconciliation procedural rules. As a result, a point of order was successfully raised against these measures, and they were stricken from the bill:

  • A provision to allow the use of section 529 savings plan distributions to pay for elementary and secondary school expenses related to home schooling
  • A “tuition-paying” requirement in the 500-student threshold for the application of the excise tax on the endowments of certain private colleges and universities
  • The descriptive title of the bill (thus striking the provision identifying the bill as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”)

Under the reconciliation rules in the Senate, these measures had to be removed from the bill in order to allow it to continue to be considered under the reconciliation rules—thus enabling the bill to pass in the Senate with the support of only a simple majority of Senators, rather than requiring a 60-vote supermajority. 

The House will need to vote on this new version of the conference agreement. The House Majority Leader has advised members that a new vote in the House is currently expected to occur on Wednesday, December 20.




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