Political Insider

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Tax bill expected to divide Georgia lawmakers along party lines

WASHINGTON -- A once-in-a-generation tax bill Congress is slated to pass in the days ahead looks like it will divide Georgia's congressional delegation along familiar partisan lines.

All 10 of the state's House Republicans and both Georgia senators have indicated they plan to enthusiastically back the roughly $1.5 trillion proposal, which they say will grow the economy and put more money in the pockets of businesses and the middle class.

"Now we're able to start saying we've got a tax system that puts us competitive not only with the world but (that) puts money into people's pockets come the first of the year, and that's something we're excited about," Gainesville Republican Congressman Doug Colllins said on Fox News last week.

The state's four Democrats, meanwhile, have signaled they are not fans of the legislation, which they frame as a boondoggle that will only benefit the rich.

"House Republicans are determined to secure a quick political win that will devastate every corner of our country and generations yet unborn," said U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, the only Georgian who sits on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

President Donald Trump and other Republicans view the bill as must-pass after the party's Obamacare repeal effort collapsed last fall.

While the measure offers targeted tax relief to sectors of importance to Georgia, including Fortune 500s and the film industry, it does not include the tax credits the builders of the Augusta-area nuclear plant Vogtle were counting on to complete their troubled $23 billion project. Also missing is a provision related to the rights of churches to endorse political candidates that social conservatives such as U.S. Rep. Jody Hice were pushing for in recent weeks. A spokeswoman for the Monroe Republican said he still plans to vote for the bill.

The measure is expected to pass the House on Tuesday and advance narrowly through the Senate shortly thereafter.

Read more here: How key Georgia priorities fared in the tax bill

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.