Washington • All four of Utah’s House members backed the GOP tax reform bill that they say will help families and boost the economy but was derided by Democrats as a handout to the wealthy.
The bill, dubbed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed 227-205, largely on partisan lines.
The Utah representatives — all Republicans — had nothing but praise for the bill, hailing it as a significant step toward simplifying the tax code and making it fairer.
Democrats on Thursday called the GOP bill a “tax scam” that will hurt the middle class and add to the national debt.
Rep. John Curtis, a Utah Republican who was sworn into office less than a week after winning the Nov. 7 special election, praised the bill as an “important step” to reduce tax rates for hardworking Utahns and let families keep more of their money.
“I am proud to have cast my vote in support of this long-overdue and historic tax reform bill that will help Utah families by simplifying the tax code, making American businesses more competitive, and by generating hundreds of thousands of American jobs and producing real economic growth,” Curtis said.
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, said the legislation would lead to a tax code that is “simple and fair.”
“Utahns deserve more jobs, fairer taxes and bigger paychecks,” Stewart said in a statement. “Tax benefits are being preserved, helping you afford some of life’s most important investments. All while you are enjoying the benefits of a strong and growing American economy.”
Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, said the passage of the bill shows that Washington is “truly working for people.”
“The process is long and complex, but the hard work will be worth it for our 4th District neighbors who seek the American Dream,” Love said. “Our current tax code is gargantuan, complex, riddled with loopholes for lobbyists and kills American job creation. We’re putting an end to that.”
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, agreed.
“Utahns deserve to keep more of their hard-earned money,” Bishop said. “Each year, Utahns and other Americans spend billions of dollars complying with our needlessly complicated tax code. I voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act because it will save Utahns thousands of dollars each year. Furthermore, the bill contains numerous provisions that bring federal tax policy more in line with Utah values.”
The Senate is working on its own version of the legislation — led in part by Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee — and the two bills will end up in a conference committee if the Senate can muster the votes to pass its own measure. The conference committee would attempt to work out a compromise.
Democrats warned of dire consequences for tens of millions of families, along with an expansion of the national debt.
“Today, 227 Republicans voted to raise taxes on 36 million middle-class households and to add at least $1.7 trillion to our national debt, all in order to provide massive tax breaks to the top one percent,” said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. “This is not tax reform; it doesn’t even merit being called a tax cut.”