For the obscenely rich in America, Christmas appears to be coming a few days early.
On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the biggest tax code overhaul in 30 years, a controversial measure to which critics refer as "The Donor Relief Act of 2017" because of its disproportionate benefit to people who really don't need the money, but who have similarly disproportionate influence on policymaking in DC via industry lobbying and campaign/PAC contributions/unlimited time to schmooze.
Th New York Times reports that the bill passed 227-203; largely along party lines, except for around ten House Republicans from states like California and New Jersey, where Democrats appear poised to clean up in the 2018 midterms.
The bill — which (among many other things) would cost $1.5 trillion, lower the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent and temporarily cut taxes for the middle class, now heads to the Senate, which could vote on it as early as Tuesday evening.
There had been questions over its potential passage in the Senate, with lawmakers like Florida Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio putting on a show over the child tax credit. Late last week he said he wouldn't vote for the measure if it didn't expand the tax break for parents. His fellow lawmakers managed to win his vote back by increasing the credit by a few hundred bucks per child, which critics say that won't amount to much for struggling families.
Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, also said he wouldn't vote for the bill, but mysteriously changed his mind after a component substantially benefiting those in his line of work was added in.
Democrats from Florida's congressional delegation of course decried the measure as cruel and reckless.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, was called the measure "fiscally irresponsible" and "morally bankrupt" ahead of its passage, and warned of the potentially dangerous consequences of provisions like those which remove the individual health care mandate (a key mechanism of the Affordable Care Act) and allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
"The Republican-led Congress and White House missed a great opportunity to work in a bipartisan way to simplify the tax code and make it work better for the American people, particularly the middle class. Instead, we have a hyper-partisan product that writes the rigged economy into law – while creating major disruption in the healthcare marketplace, damaging our environment, and jacking up the national debt to new heights," Crist said in a written statement his office issued in the hours preceding Tuesday's vote.
It's not just Democrats who are criticizing Republicans for passing the bill — and warning of potential ramifications down the line.
Republican David Jolly, (who lost reelection in 2016 to Crist in large part due to the district's boundaries getting redrawn in a way that favors Democratic candidates...long story), had an ominous message about the tax bill and how its incongruity with the current political climate might not bode well in the midterms.
"Memo to GOP colleagues: adding $2 [trillion] in national debt to save my family $700 next year while saving other families $7 [million] isn't worth losing the House or Senate in 2018," Jolly tweeted Monday. "But you do you."
Others, like a certain humanoid rotting peach who's desperate for a win before the first anniversary of his inauguration hits, were feelin' groovy Tuesday afternoon.
Once the Senate passes the bill, it goes to the desk of the president, who apparently wants to sign that sucker by Christmas.
After all, isn't going into debt from giving a bunch of money to corporations more or less The Reason for the Season?