For many Americans the legacy of the Obama economy is sluggish growth, stagnant paychecks and missed opportunities. A lost generation of workers still struggle with the consequences of the Great Recession and find it nearly impossible to get ahead. One of the biggest obstacles to their success has been our nation’s complex and outdated tax code. For too long it has dragged down our economy and taken too much from their paychecks.
That’s why the Republican-led Senate passed a critical tax reform bill that will help make America an economic powerhouse again. We did that by putting more money into the pockets of hardworking families and small businesses, creating more jobs and economic opportunity, and taking steps to ensure that jobs and business stay in America. This was a once-in-a-generation opportunity that we could not let pass.
The Senate Finance Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Orrin Hatch, produced legislation to rethink the tax code fundamentally. Mr. Hatch led his committee through years of work, dozens of hearings, and a full markup. It approved a good bill—one our constituents deserve and one I am proud the full Senate passed. I am grateful for Mr. Hatch’s consistent efforts to boost the economy, support workers and families, and accomplish our shared goals.
Since Republicans in Congress began working on tax reform with the Trump administration, everyone has agreed that middle-class families must be at the heart of our plan. They will benefit from tax rates that are lower, simpler and fairer. Our bill doubles the child tax credit, preserves the adoption tax credit for families that open their homes to children in need, and roughly doubles the standard deduction. Under the plan we passed, a median-income family of four could see a tax cut of nearly $2,200—money it could use for anything from helping a child through college to saving for retirement.
Our plan will also help small businesses grow. That’s why it has the support of prominent advocates including the National Federation of Independent Business. Lower taxes will help small businesses create jobs, invest more, and spur economic growth. Simplifying the tax code will reduce compliance costs and make it possible for job creators to reinvest more of their own money in their enterprises. It will help American businesses succeed in an increasingly competitive global market.
In addition to these important provisions of the tax bill, the Senate also voted to deliver relief to low- and middle-income Americans by repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate tax. For too long, families have suffered under this unpopular and unfair tax imposed under an unworkable law.
The bill also includes a plan from Chairman Lisa Murkowski of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee that will further develop Alaska’s oil and gas potential in an environmentally responsible way. I proudly supported her proposal, which will strengthen national security, create good jobs, and provide new sources of energy, making the U.S. less dependent on foreign sources.
Lowering taxes for families and small businesses is a central part of President Trump’s agenda, and we worked together toward this accomplishment for the American people. After a substantive and lengthy debate through an open process, we passed legislation that fulfills goals shared by congressional Republicans and the president.
Democrats once claimed to support many of the foundational aspects of our legislation, like lowering taxes for the middle class and ending incentives for corporations to ship jobs overseas. But when it came time to vote, they chose partisanship over reform. I was disappointed to see that our colleagues on the other side of the aisle continue to oppose good ideas simply because they don’t like the current occupant of the White House. But as I’ve said before, we refuse to let partisan distractions stop us from delivering relief.
I am proud that the Senate rose to take advantage of this historic opportunity to give a break to middle-class families through tax reform. Now we will work with members of the House to send a final product to Mr. Trump for his signature. Once we do, you will be able to keep more of your own hard-earned money. You and your neighbors will be free to pursue more opportunities, and employers across the country will have fewer reasons to move your job overseas.
Mr. McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is Senate majority leader.