World Bulletin / News Desk
US Senate Republicans narrowly passed landmark tax reform early Saturday, a critical step toward delivering a monumental legislative victory for President Donald Trump in his first year in office.
The Senate version and the one passed recently by the House of Representatives must now be reconciled into a single bill, and approved again by both chambers, before it can be signed into law.
Both versions dramatically lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, and include more modest tax cuts aimed at individuals across all income levels.
The Senate vote amounts to a reversal of fortune for Trump and Republican leaders, whose bill just 24 hours earlier was on the brink of collapse when a handful of Republican deficit hawks balked at the controversial plan's $1.5 trillion price tag for 10 years.
Eager to claim victory on what may be one of the best days of his presidency so far, Trump tweeted: "We are one step closer to delivering MASSIVE tax cuts for working families across America."
"Look forward to signing a final bill before Christmas!" he added.
After extensive negotiations, the bill was salvaged. Tax writers tweaked the 479-page measure deep into the night, leaving Democrats furious over the last-minute, handwritten changes to the legislation.
Trump, desperate for a congressional win, has been more active in the legislation's navigation through Congress than he was with the Obamacare repeal bill that failed earlier this year.
He has repeatedly stressed he wants the tax bill on his desk by year's end.
Democrats fumed that they received the text -- peppered with extensive handwritten modifications that earned scorn from opposition lawmakers -- only a few hours before the vote.
"We understand they have the votes to pass their bill despite a process -- and a product -- that no one can be proud of and everyone should be ashamed of," top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer told colleagues.
Haste and the darkness of night were Trump's allies in the process, Schumer said.
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