Senate Republicans are confident they have the votes to pass tax bill

US President Donald Trump

The Senate passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) just after 2 a.m. ET on Saturday, moving the USA one step closer to the biggest overhaul of the federal tax code in more than 30 years.

And even if Democrats went along with these measures as a way to help stabilize Obamacare, opening up spending bills to such legislation is going to inspire all sorts of demands from Republicans as well as Democrats under circumstances where one false step could shut down the government, possibly in the middle of the holidays.

Mr Trump wants that to happen before the end of the year, allowing him and his Republicans to score their first major legislative achievement of 2017, despite controlling the White House, the Senate and the House since he took office in January.

In a late night rewrite of the bill, the text of which has not yet seen the light of day, leadership won over a couple of other holdouts by making the tax break for so-called pass-through corporations more generous-up from 17.4 percent to 23. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee raised concerns about the staggering cost of the package and other provisions. Murkowski got the provision added earlier this week, but the initial version violated arcane Senate rules about which provisions can be added to the tax bill. On Thursday, the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation released a report saying the legislation would add $1 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years, even with tax-driven economic growth projections factored in.

Under the bill, the corporate tax rate would be cut from 35 percent to 20 percent.

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Throughout the House and Senate debates, the USA bishops have maintained that any tax reform must prioritize "care for the most vulnerable among us". The current Senate bill completely eliminates the federal deduction for state and local taxes, a popular deduction in the Democratic-leaning states of New York, New Jersey, California and IL as well as many wealthy suburbs nationwide.

Democrats derided the bill as a GOP gift to its wealthy and business backers at the expense of lower-earning people. "Because, basically, they voted against tax cuts". The party views passage as crucial to retaining its House and Senate majorities in next year's elections.

On Saturday, Bishop Frank Dewane, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said further analysis and recommendations from the bishops would be forthcoming, but "Congress must act now to fix the fundamental flaws found in both bills, and choose the policy approaches that help individuals and families struggling within our society".

The legislation still has to be reconciled with the U.S. House of Representatives' version of the bill passed on November 16. That would give Republicans another chance to undo a health care law that withstood repeated repeal attempts while exacerbating the bill's consequences for those of modest means.

The changes added almost $300 billion to the tax bill's costs.