By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” HR1, narrowly passed in the Senate by a vote of 51-48. Both of Alabama’s U.S. Senators: Richard Shelby and Luther Strange voted in favor of HR1. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the most significant piece of tax cut legislation to pass since 1986.
“The Senate today passed historic legislation to deliver pro-growth, middle-class tax relief to the American people,” Shelby said in a statement. “This bill not only lowers individual and corporate tax rates, lightening the burden on small businesses, but it works to revitalize our economy – impacting current and future generations to come. Across the nation, this legislation will help create jobs, increase paychecks, and make the tax code simpler and fairer.”
“Tax relief is not pie in the sky,” Strange said on social media. “Today, it becomes reality for the American families working hard to make ends meet. It becomes reality for the small businesses that serve as cornerstones of our communities. It becomes reality for job creators who know the power of American industry. Getting tax relief accomplished is the reason I came to Washington, and on behalf of Alabama, I was proud to cast my vote tonight.”
“I am proud that we are able to work together to fulfill our commitment to deliver real tax reform and put money back in the pockets of the middle-class Americans who have earned it,” Shelby concluded. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change Americans’ lives for the better.”
Clinton-era U.S. Attorney Doug Jones narrowly defeated former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore for the Senate seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions last week. Strange had been appointed to the seat by then Gov. Robert Bentley. Strange however was defeated in the Republican runoff by Moore. The Senate Republican leadership, including Shelby, however opposed Moore’s election, likely making Jones’ narrow election possible.
Jones has not yet been certified by state officials, nor has Moore formally conceded the election. Senate Democrats had been demanding that Republicans halt tax cut legislation until after Jones can be sworn in in early January.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, said on social media, “Doug Jones should be seated without delay. The people of Alabama have a right to be represented by the person they elected in this tax debate.”
The Republican leadership ignored demands that the major legislation be paused until after the state of Alabama can count all of the military absentee ballots and passed the GOP tax cut bill anyway.
Both Houses of Congress had already passed differing versions of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” The legislation then went to a conference committee to resolves the differences in the legislation. Earlier in the day the House passed the conference committee’s version. When it arrived in the Senate however the Senate Parliamentarian demanded more changes to the bill for it to pass under the Senate’s budget reconciliation rules which allows it to pass with a simple majority vote, avoiding the Senate’s onerous 60 vote rule to end a filibuster. The tax cut bill will now move back to the U.S. House of Representatives for further consideration. The House is expected to pass the comprehensive tax proposal. It will then head to President Donald Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
Original reporting by USA Today and Fox News contributed to this report.