Updated on November 16 at 2:20 p.m. ET
House Republicans on Thursday approved legislation overhauling the U.S. tax code, slashing rates for corporations while more modestly cutting taxes for individuals, and scaling back a host of popular deductions and exemptions.
And they did it without so much as a hint of drama.
The party-line, 227-205 vote is a victory for President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who took a major step toward enacting their top domestic priority and salvaging what has been a lackluster first year of unified Republican power in Washington.
What was most surprising about Thursday’s result, however, was how easy it was.
There was no last-minute arm-twisting or back-room buy offs, no desperate calls from the president to wavering lawmakers, no 11th-hour amendments. The vote occurred on schedule, and when Trump trekked to Capitol Hill for a final pep talk with GOP lawmakers on Thursday, his visit seemed oddly perfunctory. Just 13 Republicans voted against the measure, leaving a comfortable buffer for the party leadership even without a single vote from Democrats.
The drama in the drive for tax cuts will surely come later in the process, either as Senate Republicans try to steer their proposal through a narrower majority or when the two chambers negotiate a final version to send to Trump’s desk. The Senate bill is already teetering, with one Republican senator opposed and others voicing concerns. The GOP bill can lose no more than two senators to advance, and it received more bad news when the Joint Committee on Taxation found that the proposal would raise taxes on middle-class families in several years, compared to current law, once many of its cuts expire.