According to multiple sources, the U.S. Senate is close to voting on tax reform either later today or in the morning. Absent any late defections, the bill is expected to pass the Senate through a strict party-line vote. While the final version of the bill is not yet set, at this time, the current version includes the elimination of the individual mandate penalty currently provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The House’s version of tax reform, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, passed on November 16th, does not include the elimination of the individual mandate penalty, although the House previously voted for elimination of the individual mandate penalty in the health care reform legislation it passed earlier this year, the American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA).
If the tax reform bill passes in the Senate, the next step is either (1) the House passes the Senate version “as is”, in which case the bill then heads directly to President Trump for signature; or (2) both versions of tax reform head to a joint House/Senate committee to hash out differences in the bills. The revised bill, once agreed to by the committee, must then be passed by both the House and Senate before it heads to President Trump for his signature.