Speed Reads

tax reform

Here's what still has to happen before the GOP tax plan becomes law

Senate Republicans passed their version of the GOP tax reform plan very early Saturday morning, and the House passed a different version in November. Now, to meet President Trump's goal of having a final version signed by Christmas, congressional leadership from both houses have to reconcile the two bills — no small feat.

"We're gonna go to conference unless the Senate makes unbelievable changes to their bill in the next few days," said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chair of the fiscally conservative House Freedom Caucus, on Thursday. Still, Meadows added, he is "very optimistic" an agreement will be reached this month.

The two pieces of legislation retain a number of differences, as detailed at The New York Times and The Washington Post. For example, the House bill has four individual income tax brackets, while the Senate bill retains the current count of seven. The Senate bill repeals the ObamaCare individual mandate; the House bill does not. Conversely, the House bill eliminates the estate tax, but the Senate bill changes the tax-free limit from $5.5 million to $11 million.

Once all those differences — and more — are reconciled into a single piece of legislation, both chambers will likely have to vote a second time to approve the new version for the president's signature.