By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Friday, the U.S. Senate voted along part lines, 51-49, to support their tax reform package known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The legislation is now expected to be conferenced with the U.S. House’s tax reform bill, who passed their own version earlier.
“The Senate today passed legislation to deliver pro-growth tax relief for the American people,” U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said. “This is a bill that, if signed into law, will positively impact current and future generations by expanding economic opportunities and lowering taxes for the middle-class. Reducing rates and reforming our tax code will not only put more money in the pockets of hardworking Americans, but it will also allow businesses to create jobs and increase wages.”
U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., said on social media that the vote was a, “Historic opportunity to deliver real relief to American families and businesses dealing with an outdated tax code. I’m ready to vote.”
“Tax reform is one of the most important things we can do to help middle-class families,” Shelby said. “This is Congress’s opportunity to change Americans’ lives for the better, and I am proud to support these efforts.”
Strange said that the bill will deliver a $2,200 tax cut for a typical family of four.
“For Alabama families in need of more take-home pay, today’s vote is a step in the right direction,” said Strange. “For Alabama small businesses hoping to expand, raise wages, or create new jobs, today’s vote puts us on the cusp of the real change I came to Washington to deliver. I am proud of the hard work that has gone into our nation’s first comprehensive tax relief package in over thirty years, and I will vote to send a final, generational solution to the President’s desk before the end of the year.”
The Senate Finance Committee has held dozens of hearings and collected input from numerous senators as committee members worked to write the initial tax reform proposal. Shelby’s office said that all senators were given the opportunity to put forward their own suggestions and principles in the open process in an effort to improve the bill. A variety of amendments to the bill were also considered on the Senate floor prior to its passage.
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry M. Lathan told the senators on social media, “Thank you for that most important vote!”
Republican Senate Candidate Roy Moore had urged the senators to vote for the bill on Thursday, prior to the vote.
“As your next United States Senator, I will support any cut to the federal income tax on individuals and on corporations,” Moore said. “The federal government has grown too large and we have given bureaucrats and politicians too much power over our economy and our small businesses.”
Former Chief Justice Moore said that the Congress should go even farther in shaking up the tax code, “I support President Trump’s effort to bring tax relief to America the people of America, and while I support any kind of tax cut, I will work to make the senate’s cuts even larger. In fact, this initial effort to cut taxes should be the first step towards achieving either a 15% across the board flat tax for both individuals and corporations or a national consumption tax, also known as the Fair Tax, which would tax individuals and corporations on what they spend rather than on what they earn.”
“The establishment Republican leadership is once again disappointing Americans by playing on the fringes of reform,” Moore continued. “For America’s economy to be great again, we must be aggressive, without regard for the whining of the left who constantly affirm the federal government as their god.”
Moore defeated Sen. Strange in the Republican party runoff on September 26. Strange was appointed by former Gov. Robert Bentley.
Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones in the special general election on Dec. 12, 2017. The rare Senate vacancy was created when President Donald Trump chose Jeff Sessions to be U.S. attorney general.
If passed out of the conference committee, the bill and the first budget passed by the Congress since 2008 will be two major legislative accomplishments for the Trump administration, which was embarrassed over the summer when the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare failed in the Senate.