Trump wins first major legislative victory of presidency as Senate passes Republicans' tax reform bill

WASHINGTON, Dec 2 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Saturday approved a sweeping tax overhaul, moving Republicans and President Donald Trump a major step closer to their goal of slashing taxes for businesses and the rich while offering everyday Americans a mixed bag of changes.

In what would be the largest U.S. tax overhaul since the 1980s, Republicans want to add $1.4 trillion over 10 years to the $20 trillion national debt to finance changes that they say would further boost an already growing economy.

U.S. stock markets have rallied for months in hopes Washington would provide significant tax cuts for corporations.

Following the 51-49 vote, talks will begin, likely next week, between the Senate and the House of Representatives, which has already approved its own tax bill. The two chambers must craft a single bill to send to Trump to sign into law.

9 PHOTOS
Republican senators who were on the fence about the GOP tax bill
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Republican senators who were on the fence about the GOP tax bill

Ron Johnson of Wisconsin

Susan Collins of Maine

Jeff Flake of Arizona

John McCain of Arizona

Bob Corker of Tennessee

Steve Daines of Montana

James Lankford of Oklahoma

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
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The president wants that to happen before the end of the year, allowing him and his Republicans to score their first major legislative achievement of 2017, despite controlling the White House, the Senate and the House since he took office in January.

A tax overhaul is seen by Republicans as crucial to their prospects in the November 2018 mid-term election campaigns when they will have to defend their majorities in Congress.

In a legislative battle that moved so fast a final draft of the bill was unavailable to the public until just hours before the vote, Democrats slammed the measure as a give-away to businesses and the rich financed with billions in taxpayer debt.

The framework for both the Senate and House bills was developed in secret over a few months by a half-dozen Republican congressional leaders and Trump advisers, with little input from the party's rank-and-file and none from Democrats.

The Senate approved their bill in the wee hours, with Democrats complaining that last-minute amendments circulated among senators were poorly drafted and vulnerable to being gamed later by lawyers and accountants in the tax avoidance industry.

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7 things Trump could've purchased with the $38M he paid in taxes
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7 things Trump could've purchased with the $38M he paid in taxes

190 initiation fees
for Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach

Cost per member initiation: $200K

Photo credit: Getty

2,715 annual memberships
to Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach

Cost per membership: $14K/year

Photo credit: Getty

190 sets of diamonds
That Ivanka Trump wore to her wedding

Cost of Ivanka Trump's wedding day jewelry: $200K

Photo credit: Getty

26 engagement rings
That Donald Trump proposed to Melania with

Cost of Melania Trump's engagement ring: $1.5M

Photo credit: Getty

845 annual tuitions
To the high school that Barron Trump attends, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School

Tuition cost: $45K/Year

Photo credit: Getty

543 annual tuitions
To the university that Tiffany Trump attended, University of Pennsylvania 

Tuition cost: $70K/year

Photo credit: Getty

10,556 Gucci jackets
That Kellyanne Conway wore to the 2017 Presidential Inauguration

Cost of jacket: $3.6K

Photo credit: Reuters 

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"The Republicans have managed to take a bad bill and make it worse," said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. "Under the cover of darkness and with the aid of haste, a flurry of last-minute changes will stuff even more money into the pockets of the wealthy and the biggest corporations."

No Democrats voted for the bill, but they lacked the votes to block it because Republicans hold a 52-48 Senate majority.

Republican Senator Bill Cassidy praised the bill and said, "Working families and middle-income families across the nation will be better off. Families who over the last eight years have not done well will begin to do better." (Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell, Susan Heavey and Richard Cowan in Washington; Caroline Valetkevitch in New York; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh)

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