Open Thread; Conference Report On Tax Reform Passes In House, Senate, and Signed Into Law


BREAKING: House of Representatives Passes Tax Reform Package

The tax reform legislative process nears its conclusion as the House of Representatives just passed the conference report version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

By Neil Stevens, Red State

Having rejected attempts by the Democrats to send the bill back to committee, and to reject the conference report, the final vote in favor of passing HR 1 was 227-203.

The final debate brought Speaker Paul Ryan to the floor, who said “I’ll remind everyone in the chamber that as Speaker, my minute lasts as long as I want it to last.” His minute may not have changed any minds at this point, not in these polarized times, but he has seen the bill through to its final passage from the House.

Not very collegial….

And an oo0ps moment

House Must Vote Again On Tax-Reform Plan After Procedural Snag

By Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge

In an embarassing reversal of what House Republicans had celebrated as a done deal, the House will need to vote again on the final version of the tax reform plan passed earlier this afternoon. The second vote is the result of a technicality in one of the bill’s provisions. According to Bloomberg, the Senate parliamentarian found three provisions in the final bill that violate the Byrd Rule, and the Senate will have to strip them from the bill before passing it, according to Bernie Sanders, the top Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee, and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, who had earlier hinted that he was looking into possible Byrd Rule violations.

Then the House will need to hold a second vote on the newly modified bill.

“It is our intention to raise a point of order to remove these provisions from the conference report and require the House to vote on this bill again,” Sanders said. The House now expects to take another vote on the tax bill tomorrow morning, according to email from majority leader’s office; that vote would clear the bill for Trump’s signature, assuming the Senate passes the bill with the required changes later this evening.

Competence does not seem to be a strength of this Congress…

The Senate does its part:

Senate Passes GOP Tax Reform Bill 51-48, Headed Back To House For Final Vote

By Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge

he Senate voted 51-48 along party lines to pass the sweeping $1.5 trillion GOP tax bill a little after midnight Tuesday, leaving only the House to re-vote, likely on Wednesday morning, after it was discovered that several minor provisions in the legislation were in violation of Senate rules – requiring they be stripped from the bill. As Senator John Kennedy notably said on Tuesday “somebody screwed up.”

A Kennedy would be qualified to opine on that (screwing up).

Re-passed in the House:

House Passes Trump Tax Plan For Second Time With Only 1 Republican Voting Against

By Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge

Update: In a vote that almost exactly mirrored yesterday’s results, the House once again passed the final Trump tax bill – formerly known as the conference agreement on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – by a vote of 232-190. The only difference was that only one Republican voted against the bill during its second time around.

Off to President Trump for signature…

Signed, sealed, Delivered.

Breaking The Blue State Advantage
Feel Good, Conservatives, You Are 100% Vindicated For Voting for Donald Trump
  • jim_m

    I love how states like NJ, NY, IL and CA, that have sky high state income taxes refer to other states as “Moocher states” because those states get more federal aid.

    When you calculate how much the federal government has subsidized the states with high tax rates they are coming out ahead on the deal those high tax states are the real moocher
    states, shafting the federal government for billions so they can get the money for themselves.

    The state income tax break was nothing more than a federal subsidy to failing state governments.

    • stan25

      The reason the so-called “moocher” states seem to receive more Federal dollars, is because there are less people to count. Such a case is Wyoming, where the population of the whole state would fit into a single neighborhood in Los Angeles. Thus, there is more bang for the buck.

      • pennywit

        are less people


        • jim_m

          Liar corrects grammar rather than addressing substance.

          • What say we don’t try to remake pennywit into the mold of our non-dearly departed assholes?

          • jim_m

            No worries

    • Rdm42

      The entire written off amount of state and local taxes should be added when making the comparison.

  • pennywit

    I find it somewhat ironic that individuals in rural areas and smaller cities voted for Trump to stick it to suburban liberals like me … and then the Republicans produced a tax cut that will likely benefit me more than it will benefit the average Trump voter.

    I don’t think this tax bill is a good idea. I really think these tax cuts will not be sustainable in the long term, and I do not believe that Congress will cut enough spending to offset them.

    But, well, this is what people voted for.

    • jim_m

      Yeah, economic growth is never a good idea. Better to crush it like obama did.

      • Retired military

        I actually glanced at an article a few weeks back that talked about how high economic growth was bad really really bad for the US.

        • That must have been a particularly dismal practitioner of the dismal science.

        • stan25

          Was it on CNN?

          • Retired military

            I dont remember what site I saw it on but I think it was like NY Times or one of the major sites.

          • jim_m

            Actually, it’s HuffPo

            There are only five problems with America’s growth imperative:

            1 Growth doesn’t work. It doesn’t deliver the claimed social and economic benefits.

            2 Our measure of growth — gross domestic product or GDP — is fundamentally flawed.

            3 The focus on growing GDP deflects us away from growing the many things that do need to grow.

            4 The over-riding imperative to grow gives over-riding power to those, mainly the corporations, which have the capital and technology to deliver that growth, and, much the same thing, it undermines the case for a long list of public policies that would improve national well-being but are said to “slow growth” and to “hurt the economy.”

            5 Economic activity and its growth are the principal drivers of massive environmental decline.

            The argument only makes sense if you are an unreconstructed communist and totally reject the idea of markets and freedom. But then that actually is the state of the left today.

          • In the USSR, #5 was certainly true. They REALLY didn’t give a shit about pollution at all. And the citizens couldn’t complain – you didn’t complain, ever, in the good ol’ USSR.

          • jim_m

            Yes, but government activity in the USSR cannot be construed as economic growth as most of their projects resulted in the opposite.

          • “Unexpectedly.” Lol…

            Centrally planned economies do tend to go that way.

          • Retired military

            Actually this wasn’t the article that I saw.

    • Retired military

      Isnt it ironic that the people who pay the most in taxes get a bigger amount of money back when tax cuts come around.
      Why do liberals think it is fair for someone who pays $5000 in taxes in a year should get the same amount of a tax cut as those who pay $5m in taxes a year?
      And why is it so bad for people to get to keep MORE OF THEIR OWN MONEY?

      • jim_m

        No, no, no. You don’t understand. Lefties like Pennywit only get upset when OTHER people get to keep their money. Pennywit always thinks that he deserves to keep his money.

        I’ll bet that Pennywit doesn’t even check the boxes for additional contributions to the federal campaign funding or other federal boondoggles. Mainly because he’s a hypocrite.

      • pennywit

        Sorry, I’m using my tax cut to send Walter a fruit basket. He’s a Cleveland Browns fan. He needs the support …

      • pennywit

        OK, now for my more serious response.

        The tax bill is pure ice cream. That is, it gives people goodies in the form of tax cuts. But you can’t have ice cream without spinach. If the past two decades have taught me anything, it’s that Congress loves to serve ice cream — tax cuts and popular expansions of federal spending. But Congress never makes us eat our spinach — the increased taxes to finance expanded federal programs or the slashed federal funding to offset the tax cuts. And unless Congress serves up the spinach now, these tax cuts will likely create deficit headaches down the road.

        Second, I think I’m going to take a federalist approach. I’m going to vote at the state level for candidates who favor a strong social-safety net and other priorities I value … provided that they are also willing to ensure the state can afford such things. If that means higher state taxes, then I’m willing to pay that price.

        But I really sense irony in the tax bill because the ice cream gives me a modest benefit while giving Trump voters a more modest benefit. Meanwhile, the spinach, should it come, won’t affect me that much either. I don’t benefit from very many government welfare programs. Meanwhile, a rural voter who pulled the lever from Trump is likely to see far greater consequences if the spinach does come.

        • Congress spends too much.

          • pennywit

            I don’t see that habit changing.

          • That is the root of the problem.

          • Retired military

            Exactly. And you wont as long as they (Congress) thinks they can continue to raise out taxes with no consequences to their jobs.
            There isn’t a taxing problem there is a spending problem. But too hear democrats talk we don’t get taxed enough.

          • pennywit

            There isn’t a taxing problem there is a spending problem.

            The problem is that you need to get a majority of congresscritters, each of whom represent constituents with divergent economic interests to agree on what to cut.

          • NOTHING can be cut. Or people will DIE!1112131415

            Sigh. I really hate it when they turn politics up to 15. Makes it hard to get anything done because of the hysteria.

          • Retired military

            Cutting taxes is armageddon. Just ask Nancy Pelosi. And if we put too many people on Guam it will capsize. Just ask Hank Johnson.

          • Our politicians are never wrong. Just ask them. They know everything about everything, and if what they know doesn’t match up to reality, then REALITY ITSELF is in error!

          • Retired military

            They only represent the ones who donate money to their campaigns.

          • Rdm42

            how about starting with the things not authorized constitutionally?

          • jim_m

            I disagree. There is a taxing problem. The left believes that taxes can be raised infinitely without affecting behavior. They also believe that taxes can be raised infinitely and that they will never run out of money to tax.

            These are both demonstrably false, but they continue to behave as though they are.

            What is funny, is that they claim that raising inome taxes on the rich will not cause them to hide their money. Yet they constantly say that taxing cigarettes, alcohol, gasoline, etc. will have desirable results on reducing their consumption.

            So they are either hopelessly ignorant or completely dishonest. I will include Pennywit in this because he displays the same unethical and dishonest double standard on these issues.

          • stan25

            The consumption is reduced, but when the consumption is reduced, the taxes collected also go down. Then the pols raise the taxes again. A viscous circle, which will never end.

          • Retired military

            By not a taxing problem I meant that there isnt a problem of there not being enough taxes in existence (in fact there are way too many).

        • jim_m

          If the past two decades have taught me anything, it’s that Congress loves to serve ice cream — tax cuts and popular expansions of federal spending. But Congress never makes us eat our spinach — the increased taxes to finance expanded federal programs or the slashed federal funding to offset the tax cuts.

          SO you are admitting that you are either a bald faced liar or completely ignorant of recent history.

          1. A 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco: On February 4, 2009, just sixteen days into his Administration, Obama signed into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco, a hike of 61 cents per pack. The median income of smokers is just over $36,000 per year.

          2. Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax (takes effect in Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by Obama-appointed HHS bureaucrats — must pay an income surtax.

          The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that six million American families will be liable for the tax, and as Americans for Tax Reform has pointed out, 100 percent of Americans filing a tax return (140 million filers) will be forced to submit paperwork to the IRS showing they had “qualifying” health insurance for every month of the tax year. Bill: PPACA; Page: 317-337)

          3. Obamacare Employer Mandate Tax (takes effect Jan. 2014): If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees. Applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer). Bill: PPACA; Page: 345-346

          Combined score of individual and employer mandate tax penalty: $65 billion/10 years

          4. Obamacare Surtax on Investment Income (Tax hike of $123 billion/takes effect Jan. 2013): Creation of a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single).

          5. Obamacare Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans (Tax hike of $32 bil/takes effect Jan. 2018): Starting in 2018, new 40
          percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family). Higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family) for early retirees and high-risk professions. CPI +1 percentage point indexed. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,941-1,956

          6. Obamacare Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax (Tax hike of $86.8 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Bill: PPACA, Reconciliation Act; Page: 2000-2003; 87-93

          7. Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax (Tax hike of $5 bil/took effect Jan. 2011): Americans are no longer able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription,
          over-the-counter medicines (except insulin). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957-1,959

          8. Obamacare HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike (Tax hike of $1.4 bil/took effect Jan. 2011): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,959

          9. Obamacare Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka “Special Needs Kids Tax” (Tax hike of $13 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Imposes cap on FSAs of $2500 (currently unlimited). Indexed to inflation after 2013. There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,388-2,389

          10. Obamacare Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers (Tax hike of $20 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Medical device manufacturers 409,000 people in 12,000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3 percent excise tax on total sales, even if the respective company does not earn a profit. Exempts items retailing for <$100. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,980-1,986

          11. Obamacare "Haircut" for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI (Tax hike of $15.2 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Currently, those facing highmedical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994-1,995

          12. Obamacare Tax on Indoor Tanning Services (Tax hike of $2.7 billion/took effect July 2010): New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons. Making matters worse: According to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report,the Obama IRS didn’t bother to issue compliance guidelines until three quarterly filing deadlines had passed: “By the time [IRS] notices were issued, tanning excise tax returns had been due for three quarters." Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,397-2,399

          13. Obamacare elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D (Tax hike of $4.5 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013) Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994

          14. Obamacare Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike (Tax hike of $0.4 bil/took effect Jan. 1 2010): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,004

          15. Obamacare Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals (Min$/took effect immediately): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new "community health assessment needs," "financial assistance," and "billing and collection" rules set by Obama-appointed HHS bureaucrats. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,961-1,971

          16. Obamacare Tax on Innovator Drug Companies (Tax hike of $22.2 bil/took effect Jan. 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,971-1,980

          17. Obamacare Tax on Health Insurers (Tax hike of $60.1 bil/takes effect Jan. 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year. Phases in gradually until 2018. Fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,986-1,993

          18. Obamacare $500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives (Tax hike of $0.6 bil/takes effect Jan 2013). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,995-2,000

          19. Obamacare Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2 ($min/takes effect Jan. 2012): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957

          20. Obamacare “Black liquor” tax hike (Tax hike of $23.6 billion/took effect immediately). This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 105

          21. Obamacare Codification of the “economic substance doctrine” (Tax hike of $4.5 billion/took effect immediately). This provision allows
          the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal
          tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks
          “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 108-113

          Your claim that politicians want to lower taxes is patently a loie when it is abundantly obvious that the left ONLY wants to raise taxes. In fact Pelosi has already gone on record saying that this tax cut is “Armageddon” and Schumer has stated flat out that we need to be raising taxes not cutting them.

          Now, it does happen to be true that politicians are terrible at cutting spending unless they are dems and the purpose is to cut defense spending so that the US is vulnerable to its enemies and cannot defend itself.

          • Re the Tanning Tax… I wondered what happened to the local tanning salon. Noticed the sign for it was down and the windows papered over one day. Nothing’s moved into that spot yet.

        • Retired military

          “And unless Congress serves up the spinach now, these ….. down the road”
          Funny how whenever republicans talk about tax cuts we hear this over and over but when democrats talk about entitlements the reason they generally fail is that we spend enough money on them.
          Show me one democrat who says they should be taxed more that has written a check to the Treasury voluntarily. And why do they generally spend thousands if not tens of thousands on high priced tax attorneys to reduce their tax bill.

          • pennywit

            Funny how whenever republicans talk about tax cuts we hear this over and over but when democrats talk about entitlements the reason they generally fail is that we spend enough money on them.

            I think there’s a word or something missing here. And I’m not sure where to go with it in general. I don’t represent “all Democrats,” but I’ve pretty consistently preferred a federal budget with a lower deficit.

            Show me one democrat who says they should be taxed more that has written a check to the Treasury voluntarily. And why do they generally spend thousands if not tens of thousands on high priced tax attorneys to reduce their tax bill.

            Mmm. Not a check to the treasury directly … but a number of wealthy Democrats, who could certainly live elsewhere if they want, choose to live in California or New York, where they pay higher state taxes in exchange for more robust social programs. That is in itself a choice.

          • Retired military

            When I say democrats in a general sense I am generally referring to Democrat politicians.

            “but I’ve pretty consistently preferred a federal budget with a lower deficit.”
            Yet you voted for Obama twice and Hillary as well.

            “Not a check to the treasury directly ” Exactly my point

            “here they pay higher state taxes” – Semi true. But then you have folks like Kerry who registers his boat in the next state over to avoid paying higher taxes. You have Buffet is litigates for years to avoid his taxes. You have the millionaires who leave high tax states because ummm they are high tax states. You have the foundations which are basically nothing more than ways to transfer your wealth to you heirs and escape the death tax. And you have the army of lawyers whom you are paying thousands of dollars to to save you money and guess what it is generally a whole lot more than you are paying the lawyers to do your taxes.

            Want to see liberalnomics in action? Why is there a black market for loosies in major cities like NY? Look at Seattle’s $15 law that closed businesses and lost people jobs because employers couldnt afford to stay in business. Look at the insurance companies involved in Obamacare – govt subsidies needed or they couldnt stay in business.

  • Retired military

    10 most outrageous liberal media bias moments (yeah that is a category I wouldnt like to have to judge because of the sheer volumen)

    One which depicts the liberal media mindset so perfectly was this.

    It’s Our Job to Tell You What to Think. During a February broadcast of “Morning Joe,” co-host Mika Brzezinski chastised Trump for telling Americans to be skeptical of the press, worrying Americans may trust him over her media colleagues. “He could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think. And that, that is our job.”

    Gee if say Bill O’Reilly had said something like that the libs would have gone apeshit. Well they go apeshit over anything a conservative says anyway.

    Also we have this gem
    University teaches white employees how to overcome the ‘discomfort’ of being white

    The question is


  • Hank_M
  • Rdm42

    The fact that the parliamentarian appointed by hairy Reid accepted piddling little complaints from democrats reflects on the Parliamentarian.

  • Hank_M

    What are these “deficits” I’m suddenly hearing about.
    I can’t recall hearing this term for about 8 years now.

    • jim_m

      Absolutely. Anyone whining about the deficit needs to explain why they have said nothing for the last 8 years.

  • Seen on Instapundit:

    2016 was the worst year ever!

    2017: Here, hold my drink…

  • Hank_M

    Whatever happened to the Las Vegas shooter?
    Seems this story went away faster than an Obama scandal.

  • pennywit

    Submitted for your approval:

    As a queer femme of color, I keep close relationships with people who go beyond allyship; they’re true accomplices in the fight against white supremacy, queerphobia, and misogyny. If you’re not going to support marginalized folks, then we can’t be friends, let alone date. The personal is political.

    Beyond the lovely cushioning, happiness and support that we receive from our platonic relationships (which are, in all honesty, soul-feeding and essential), feminists also date! But there are questions we have to ask before we get close to someone.

    If ANY of these questions come up on a first date, it’s time to move on.

    • jim_m

      Any reasonable person should have bailed after the first 6 words

    • pennywit

      I think that if a date confronted me with these questions, I would adopt the persona of a rabid … ahem … enthusiastic Trump supporter just to see her reaction.

    • Retired military

      The word femme is sexist.

      • pennywit

        I’m not even sure what a “femme” is.

        • jim_m

    • Mary Gehman

      It depends on whether one is looking for ‘Mr. Right’ or ‘Mr. Right Now’. If ‘Mr. Right Now’ is the intended goal, maybe Speed-Dating is the better method of acquisition…it keeps things simple, light and shallow… as God intended most ‘first dates’ to be. The second date is when you ask the probing questions in a subtle, round-about way to get the answers you seek to the deeper issues…you know…to see if a third date is even warranted, or if you’ve already wasted about as much time as you are willing to on this venture. The same procedure applies to friendships and job interviews as well. Just sayin’…

  • Retired military

    Found this calculator on CNN

    Considering it is CNN then buyer beware

  • Retired military
    • Scalia

      A life that finds Jingle Bells racist is a wretched one indeed.

      • Or that finds trees to be racist…

        • Brett Buck

          I saw some rocks that seemed to be exuding White Privilege the other day.

  • Walter_Cronanty

    [Oops, posted this on earlier open thread by mistake – I’m reposting here – mea culpa]

    Boy, that tax cut is a real bitch for the working man:

    Wells Fargo, Fifth Third Bancorp unveil minimum wage hikes after tax bill passage

    Fifth Third and AT&T are paying employees special bonuses after getting tax cuts under the Republican tax plan.

    Wells Fargo said Wednesday that it would boost minimum wages for employees to $15 an hour, following Fifth Third’s similar announcement….

    AT&T said earlier Wednesday that it would pay 200,000 U.S. employees $1,000 each and increase its capital spending budget by $1 billion.

  • Wild_Willie

    I believe strongly that the liberal democrat leadership DOES NOT want a free and open economy. They want dependence on government. A simplistic sentence but with many examples. This bill will increase business which will increase wages which will increase tax revenues. States with high income taxes will have to be held accountable for their exorbitant spending. All good.
    1- Trump will never be president. False reporting.
    2- The stock market will tank if he is elected. False reporting.
    3- Trump colluded with Russia- False reporting.
    4- Tillerson will resign beginning of Nov.- False reporting.

    There are so many false stories by the MSM. So at this point, if the MSM is saying the tax cuts are going to hurt the citizens, the opposite will be true.

    The liberals have no power. No ideas. No future. Only their vile mouths and juvenile behavior.