WASHINGTON – Republicans from both houses of the United States Congress unveiled on Friday a draft bill for the country’s largest tax reform in three decades, with significant reductions for corporations and the rich.
The overhaul cuts corporate tax to 21 percent from 35 percent, while the highest individual income tax drops from 39.6 percent to 37 percent.
US President Donald Trump made lowering taxes a cornerstone of his election campaign.
The Senate and House of Representatives, where the Republican Party enjoys majorities, were set to vote next week, with Trump hopeful the bill can be approved before Christmas.
The measures will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, and are expected to add $1 trillion to the country’s national debt over 10 years.
The reform marks the most significant overhaul of the US tax system since the Ronald Reagan era.
In addition to lowering taxes, the bill repeals a part of former president Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which made it compulsory for Americans to have health insurance, fulfilling another of Trump’s campaign promises.
It also authorizes oil and gas drilling in the Arctic for the first time.
In a statement, the White House hailed the agreement and said that during his election campaign Trump had promised “to institute pro-growth economic policies that will provide much needed financial relief to all Americans.”
President Trump “looks forward to fulfilling the promise he made to the American people to give them a tax cut by the end of the year,” it added.
House minority leader, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, derided the bill as an “outrageous, cowardly and brazen theft from middle class families to corporations and the wealthiest one percent.”