After passing in the House, the Senate began work on H.R. 1 and renamed the bill. This version maintains a seven-bracket tax schedule and alters rates that way, reduces the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate penalty to $0 and delays the decrease in the corporate tax rate to tax year 2019, among other things.
The CBO stated in its Senate-ordered report that the JCT reported enacting the Senate version would reduce revenues by about $1,633 billion and increase on-budget deficits by about $1,441 billion over the first 10 years.
H.R. 1 passed in the Senate Dec. 2 by a vote of 51 to 49 with every Democrat and Independent voting against it.
House and Senate members went into a conference committee to finalize the bill. The Conference Report was filed on Dec. 15 and agreed to in the House Dec. 19 by a vote of 224 to 201.
The conference version of the bill included more of the provisions from the Senate version, such as retaining seven brackets and eliminating the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate penalty. Lawmakers continued to amend the legislation to include a corporate tax rate of 21 percent, a top individual tax rate of 37 percent and limits for certain widely used deductions.
Dan Berger, research assistant at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, said the general idea between all three bills is the majority of the benefits will be going to higher-income individuals and the tax burden from corporations to individuals.
“There are going to be positive effects through labor supply, investment and output, but there’s also negative effects because of the upwards pressure on interest rates,” he said. “I think that the positive effects will be more pervasive in the short term, but if interest rates start to increase rapidly, then it will slow the economy.”
The final legislation didn't include the repeal of the higher-education student tax deductions and credits like the House originally proposed. The legislation included a limit of $10,000 on the State and Local Tax deduction. Berger said this will make it more expensive for states to raise taxes, which help to fund public state universities.
He said this tax reform represents a generational transfer, where a decrease in taxes not matched with a decrease in spending will be piled onto the debt.
“When we’re older and when college students are older, and they’re making more money, these taxes are going to have to be paid back," he said. "So, it’s a big tax cut to the people who have money now, who are typically older. When we get older, we’re going to have to pay these taxes back. The young people are really losing out on this."