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House Tax Cut Vote Is Just the Start of Debate

Senate will have to iron out differences with House plan, round up enough votes

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The House votes this afternoon on Republicans' tax cut plan.

The House bill isn't the final version of the tax bill. The Senate has already laid out its own outline, with big differences. The Senate bill leaves tax brackets unchanged, except for a small cut in the rate for the highest earners, while the House bill compresses the brackets from seven to four. The Senate bill abolishes the deduction for state and local taxes while preserving the deduction for medical expenses -- the House bill does the opposite, and reduces the maximum mortgage deduction. And the Senate bill steers more tax relief to small businesses while putting off a corporate tax cut for an extra year.

Republican Jackie Walorski is the lone Hoosier on the House Ways and Means Committee, which made a few changes of its own, including restoring the tax credit for adopting a child. Walorski maintains the House and Senate bills are closer than they've been portrayed -- she says both chambers are starting with the same goal of a fairer and flatter tax code.

Both bills increase the standard deduction, which Republicans argue will simplify taxes because fewer people will itemize.

Walorski contends passing the bill would boost the economy immediately. And she argues the proposed doubling of the standard deduction and an increase in the per-child deduction mean even people who don't pay any taxes -- more than 40-percent of all taxpayers -- would benefit.

Some Republican senators have already come out against the bills, warning they'd increase the deficit. Walorski says White House economists predict a big chunk of the bill's costs would be offset by economic gains the cuts would stimulate.

(Photo: tupungato/Getty Images)

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