The Latest: IRS says bill could benefit taxpayers by Feb

From left, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, and other tax conferees gather to work on the sweeping overhaul of the nation's tax laws, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. Democrats are objecting to the bill and are asking that a final vote be delayed until Senator-elect Doug Jones of Alabama is seated. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks during a news conference following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. The Federal Reserve is raising its key interest rate for the third time this year and foresees three additional hikes in 2018, a vote of confidence that the U.S. economy remains on solid footing 8½ years after the end of the Great Recession. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Donald Trump speaks on tax reform in the Grand Foyer of the White House, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks on tax reform in the Grand Foyer of the White House, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON — The Latest on the Republican tax overhaul (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

The IRS says taxpayers could begin seeing less money withheld from their paychecks "as early as February" if Congress passes a Republican tax overhaul plan this month.

The agency says in a statement released Wednesday night that it "is continuing to closely monitor the pending legislation in Congress," and "taking the initial steps to prepare guidance on withholding for 2018."

The IRS says it expects to issue new withholding guidance in January reflecting the new legislation.

The bill would provide generous tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans. Middle- and low-income families would get smaller tax cuts, though President Donald Trump and GOP leaders have billed the package as a huge benefit for the middle class.


6 p.m.

Congressional aides say negotiators have removed several controversial provisions from sweeping tax legislation, including one that would have eliminated the deduction for interest on student loans and another deduction for medical expenses.

Two congressional aides also say the bill will no longer start taxing graduate-school tuition waivers. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss private negotiations.

GOP leaders in the House and Senate have reached an agreement in principle on the biggest rewrite of the nation's tax laws in more than 30 years, though the legislation is still being finalized Wednesday.

Advocacy groups have complained about the provisions that were removed, especially with college graduates face mounting debt from student loans.

— Stephen Ohlemacher


3:50 p.m.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says she and her colleagues expect a "modest lift" to economic growth from the tax cuts being proposed by President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers.

Yellen said at a news conference the likelihood of lower taxes is why Fed officials expect the economy to grow at 2.5 percent in 2018. But growth would then slip back closer to its recent 2 percent average.

She says the potential for greater consumer spending and capital investments from tax cuts has been reflected in part by rising stock prices.

Yellen cautions, however, that there is "considerable uncertainty" about the impact of the tax cuts, which are estimated to add at least $1 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. She notes that any wage growth would likely stem from the low unemployment rate, rather than the tax cuts.


3:24 p.m.

President Donald Trump is explaining how the tax-overhaul plan working its way through Congress would cut tax bills for middle-class families.

Speaking in the grand foyer of the White House, Trump called on members of five families joining him to talk about how exactly the tax plan would help them. The families say they'll use their tax savings to do home renovations, pay college tuition and help other people.

The president is trying to counter concerns that the tax plan will primarily benefit the rich.

Trump says that if Congress finishes the tax bill before Christmas, the IRS has confirmed that Americans will see "lower taxes and bigger paychecks" beginning in February. That's due to reductions in withholding levels.


3:06 p.m.

President Donald Trump is delivering closing arguments in favor of the tax overhaul plan that is working its way through Congress.

Speaking in the grand foyer of the White House, Trump says he's just days away from delivering on a promise to provide "a massive tax cut for the everyday, working Americans who are the backbone and heartbeat of our country."

Trump is speaking before a crowd that includes middle-income families from around the country and members of the College Republicans and Young Republicans.

House and Senate GOP leaders forged an agreement Wednesday that paves the way for final votes next week. The plan would slash taxes for businesses, give many Americans modest cuts and deliver the first major legislative accomplishment to Trump.


12:51 p.m.

President Donald Trump says Republicans are "very, very close to a historic legislative victory" on taxes.

Trump says Wednesday that a deal is "very, very close." He added that it is "very important" to vote on the legislation next week.

House and Senate GOP leaders have forged an agreement on an overhaul of the nation's tax laws. It paves the way for final votes next week to slash taxes for businesses and give most people tax cuts starting next year.

Trump plans to make a pitch Wednesday for the plan. It would give the president his first major victory in Congress.

Trump also reacted to Roy Moore's election defeat in the Alabama Senate race, saying he doesn't think the loss will impact his agenda.


11:56 a.m.

House and Senate GOP leaders have forged an agreement on a sweeping overhaul of the nation's tax laws. That paves the way for final votes next week to slash taxes for businesses and give most people tax cuts starting next year.

Top GOP aides say the deal was reached on Wednesday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the deal. Details still need to be drafted and assessed by congressional scorekeepers but the final House-Senate compromise is on track to be unveiled this week.

The measure would give President Donald Trump his first major victory in Congress. It fulfills a longstanding goal by top Republicans such as Speaker Paul Ryan to rewrite the loophole-cluttered tax code.

The measure has come under assault by Democrats who say it is unfairly tilted in favor of business and the wealthy.

-By Andy Taylor


3:55 a.m.

A Republican tax package swiftly taking shape would pull down the top tax rate for wealthy Americans to 37 percent and slash the tax rate for corporations to a level slightly above what businesses and conservatives wanted.

Republicans in Congress rushed Tuesday toward a deal. Lawmakers and aides labored to blend separate tax bills that were passed recently by the House and Senate. The Republican goal is to deliver to President Donald Trump the first major rewrite of the U.S. tax system in more than three decades.

GOP lawmakers hope to finalize blended legislation no later than Friday, vote next week and deliver the package of steep tax cuts for corporations and more modest cuts for families to the president before Christmas.

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