Tech heavyweights including Facebook, Uber, and Airbnb balked at a Senate provision that would tax employees' vested stock options. The language was dropped Tuesday night, after company leaders wrote the Senate to argue that the provision would hurt their ability to recruit and retain talent, since many tech startups offer stock as compensation in addition to salary.
The House, which removed a similar provision in its bill last week, is expected to pass its tax proposal on Thursday. The House tax bill would cut taxes by more than $1.4 trillion over the next decade and would cut the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, from 35 percent. Additionally, the overhaul would reduce the number of income tax brackets from seven to four and would nearly double the amount of the standard deduction.
While the bill is on track for passage, Republicans still face significant obstacles to passing tax reform. They must reconcile the legislation with a Senate bill that's facing pushback from some GOP senators. Additionally, the party is under pressure to get the legislation to President Donald Trump's desk by the holidays in order to notch a legislative achievement this year and prevent further opposition from Democrats and lobbyists.
One of the main differences between the two chambers' bills is a Senate proposal that would eliminate the requirement that most people have health insurance. While that would save more than $300 billion from the federal budget over 10 years, it would leave 13 million fewer Americans with health insurance coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The chances of the current version of Senate bill passing are fading after Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) said on Wednesday he wouldn't vote for the measure as its written. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) both said they have concerns about the bill and haven't committed to voting for it. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill after Thanksgiving.