It may seem like the House Republican tax bill, now known as the American Taxpayer Relief Act, is a big deal, but it’s not.
This year’s tax bill isn’t the first time Republicans have tried to get around the law, which was written to reduce taxes for the wealthy and corporations by imposing a 1 percent surcharge on incomes over $250,000 a year and to limit tax deductions for state and local taxes.
The plan also aims to raise about $1 trillion over the next decade by lowering corporate tax rates and eliminating many deductions, including the mortgage interest deduction.
But the bill has been criticized by a host of groups including the American Enterprise Institute, which says the bill is “a massive giveaway to the super-rich.”
The American Enterprise Initiative, a conservative think tank, has also called the tax bill a giveaway to wealthy people.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has dismissed the criticism and called the group’s claims “unsubstantiated.”
The legislation is part of a larger effort to help wealthy Americans, including many in the pharmaceutical industry, whose stock prices have skyrocketed under President Donald Trump’s administration.
The bill also seeks to raise a $1.5 trillion tax credit for the middle class, a move critics say would hurt working-class families.
The Republican tax plan is just one of a host a number of tax cuts, some of which have been pushed through by Democrats in the House and Senate, that will help the wealthy.
In a move to bolster the GOP, Ryan announced Friday that his Republican colleagues in the Senate will vote on an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts.
If the Senate votes to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, Ryan said, “we will then work with the Senate to get the extension to the House.”
Ryan’s decision was applauded by the AFL-CIO, which has long called for the elimination of tax breaks for the rich and corporations.
The AFL-CCIO’s president Richard Trumka said, in a statement, that the Senate vote would “help close the corporate tax loopholes that benefit the very few at the expense of everyone else.”
Ahead of the vote, Democrats said the Senate tax bill would make the rich pay more in taxes.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted, “Today’s vote by the Senate confirms that corporate tax reform must be revenue neutral, not increase taxes for middle class families.”
Democrats say the tax reform bill also would allow corporations to bring home money from overseas without paying taxes on that money.
The bill’s supporters also have criticized the tax plan as a giveaway for corporations.
A number of conservative organizations have argued that the bill’s $1,000 per person corporate tax rate will raise revenue by eliminating the so-called carried interest loophole.
But the AFLCIO said in a report that carried interest is already legal.
Republicans have also said the bill will create millions of jobs and that the corporate rate will be lowered to 12 percent from the current 35 percent.
As of this week, only the top 1 percent of earners in the U.S. have taken home more than $1 million in compensation, according to a report by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
But the AFLA’s president and CEO, Randi Weingarten, told CNN that the top one-tenth of 1 percent will be among the most likely to see their incomes rise under the GOP plan.
“It is clear that the GOP is playing with fire and it’s a desperate political move,” she said.
“It’s an attempt to distract from the very real fact that the Republicans are the party of tax increases, particularly for the richest Americans.”