Senate passes sweeping tax overhaul bill by 51-49 vote

Published: Saturday, December 02, 2017 @ 1:53 AM
Updated: Saturday, December 02, 2017 @ 10:14 AM

The dome of the U.S. Capitol is pictured here. 
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
The dome of the U.S. Capitol is pictured here. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. Senate passed a sweeping $1.5 trillion tax overhaul early Saturday morning that includes lowering corporate tax rates and eliminating the Affordable Care Act mandate, but since it was mostly drafted behind closed doors and lawmakers were adding amendments right up until the vote, it’s unclear exactly what’s in the massive and complex bill.

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Called the Tax Reconciliation Act, the bill passed by a 51-49 margin as Republicans and Democrats voted mostly along party lines. Only Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker went against his party, as the Republican voted against the bill. The final tally was announced at 1:50 a.m. ET.

The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday the GOP Senate tax plan would add more than $1 trillion dollars to the budget deficit in 10 years.

President Donald Trump lauded the bill’s passage in an early morning tweet, saying that America is “one step closer to delivering massive tax cuts for working families.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also responded, calling the legislation a "betrayal of the American middle class."

>> Montana Sen. Jon Tester’s tweet about bill goes viral

“The GOP tax scam is a product of haste, carelessness and cruelty," Pelosi wrote. "It was written on Republicans’ trickle-down delusions, not analysis or facts. It was written first and foremost for the wealthiest one percent, not middle class families trying to get ahead."

Passing the legislation was a huge victory for Senate Republicans and Trump, both looking for significant legislative achievements, CNN reported.

Republican leaders said the tax cuts would encourage U.S. companies to invest more and boost economic growth, Reuters reported.

“We have an opportunity now to make America more competitive, to keep jobs from being shipped offshore and to provide substantial relief to the middle class,” said Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate.

Congressional negotiators continued to make changes to the bill -- including handwriting alterations on to the document -- up until just hours before the final vote, CNN reported.

Congressional negotiators continued to make changes to the bill -- including handwriting alterations on to the document -- up until just hours before the final vote.

The changes drew some criticism from Democrats. Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin complained on Twitter that “they are making hand-written changes to brand-new text as we speak.”

“Can anyone else read this?”

>> JAMIE DUPREE: Flurry of late changes preceded bill’s passage

The U.S. House passed the Tax Cut and Jobs Act on Nov. 16 on a party-line vote. The Senate bill now goes back to the House for reconciliation, and then to Trump for his signature.

The House will vote on a motion to go to conference on the tax bills on Monday evening. Fox News reported. The Senate is expected to vote on a similar measure soon after. Congress is scheduled to adjourn for its Christmas break on Dec. 15. Trump said he was looking forward to signing the bill before Christmas.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a key holdout, announced just after noon  Friday that he would back the plan, CNN reported. Republicans could pass the legislation with 50 members and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence, but after Sen. Susan Collins of Maine announced her support Friday afternoon, Pence's would-be vote was unnecessary, as Collins' vote brought the tally to 51.

Before the vote was taken, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, said the Republicans’ approach “a process and a product that no one can be proud of and everyone should be ashamed of.”

The Democrat from New York added that changes made to the bill “under the cover of darkness” would “stuff even more money into the pockets of the wealthy and the biggest corporations while raising taxes on millions in the middle class,” 

The New York Times reported.

NOVEMBER 30: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks during a news conference in Dirksen Building on the importance of passing the tax reform bill for small businesses on November 30, 2017. Also appearing in the front row are, from left, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Linda McMahon, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.)

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'Mini-Me' actor Verne Troyer dead at 49

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 4:21 PM

Verne Troyer, famous for his role as
Verne Troyer, famous for his role as "Mini-Me" in the Austin Powers comedies, died Saturday. He was 49. (Photo: Verne Troyer/Facebook)

Verne Troyer, famous for his role as Mini-Me in the "Austin Powers" comedies, died Saturday. He was 49. 

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‘Full Metal Jacket’ actor R. Lee Ermey dead at 74

Published: Sunday, April 15, 2018 @ 7:09 PM

Remembering R. Lee Ermey

Actor R. Lee Ermey, famous for his role as Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in “Full Metal Jacket” died Sunday. He was 74. 

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Former male stripper makes another run for Ohio governor

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 5:52 PM

Larry Ealy. (Photo:
Larry Ealy. (Photo:

Dayton Democrat Larry Ealy, who once worked as an exotic dancer, is making a second run for Ohio governor.

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“Why make another run at it? I’ve got some unfinished business,” said Ealy, a 55-year-old father of 10.

He said he believes that minorities, particularly African-Americans, have been denied due process and equal rights

"I believe the Jewish Democratic Party is behind the deprivation and the conspiracy to keep black people deprived of all civil rights," Ealy said in interview before the 2014 Democratic primary for governor.

In that race, Ealy won 17 percent of the vote against former FBI agent and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald. He decided to make his 2014 run while sitting in a jail cell, he said at the time.

Ealy said he hasn’t worked as a male dancer for years. “After your story, now everybody thinks I’m still stripping. Everybody called me about it,” he said. He said he was a stripper in 1988 at Spunky’s Night Club on Germantown Pike in Dayton.

Ealy and three others were investigated for alleged irregularities in voter signatures on Ealy’s nominating petitions in 2014. A grand jury examined all four cases but did not return indictments on Ealy or a second man, Keith Belluardo, of Dayton.

Two others were indicted. Bruce Black, of Dayton, pleaded guilty to two counts of prohibitions related to petitions, a fifth degree felony, and was sentenced to probation on Oct. 26, 2017, said Greg Flannagan, spokesman for Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias Heck Jr. Jody Lane, of Dayton, was indicted on the same charges and a warrant for his arrest was issued on June 29, 2017, according to documents on file at the Montgomery County Common Pleas Clerk of Court.

Ealy’s son Lance Ealy was sentenced to 124 months in prison in 2015 after being convicted of federal fraud charges. He is serving his sentence in Kentucky.

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Family, friends provide loving tributes to Barbara Bush at funeral service

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 10:20 AM
Updated: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 4:01 PM

VIDEO: Barbara Bush’s Funeral

Approximately 1,500 guests attended former first lady Barbara Bush's private funeral ceremony in Houston Saturday.

Barbara Bush, the wife of the nation’s 41st president and mother of the nation’s 43rd, died Tuesday at her Houston home. She was 92.

About 2,500 mourners paid their respect at a public viewing held Friday in Houston, The Associated Press reported.

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The service took place at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston. Jeb Bush delivered a eulogy for his mother. Longtime friend Susan Baker and historian Jon Meacham also gave remarks during the 90-minute service. Multiple musical selections were performed.

A procession followed, with burial at the Bush Library at Texas A&M University in College Station. Barbara Bush will be buried next to her daughter, Robin, who was 3 years old when she died of leukemia in 1953, The AP reported.

Notable guests included first lady Melania Trump, former President Bill Clinton, former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, The AP reported.

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