Senate passes amended tax bill, House to vote later today


WASHINGTON, D.C. –    Senate Republicans have passed the most sweeping rewrite of the nation's tax laws in more than three decades, setting the stage for a final House vote Wednesday.

   The House passed the bill earlier Tuesday. But the Senate had to make minor changes so the bill would comply with Senate budget rules.

   The Senate vote was 51-48 early Wednesday, with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed.

   Rewriting the tax code has been a longtime goal of Republicans and an effort championed by President Donald Trump.

   Democrats complain that the package is a giveaway to corporations and the rich.

   The tax cuts total nearly $1.5 trillion over the next decade and would take effect in January. Workers would start to see changes in the amount of taxes withheld from their paychecks in February.

   Protesters chanting "kill the bill, don't kill us" interrupted the Senate vote on passage of the tax bill.

   Visitors in the Senate gallery stood up shortly after the vote began and started chanting on early Wednesday. Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding, stopped and repeatedly called on the sergeant at arms to restore order in the gallery.

   The vote took place with a heavy U.S. Capitol Police presence outside the chamber in expectation of the protests.

   Demonstrators had interrupted the House debate on the bill earlier in the day.