GOP tax reform bill clears first hurdle in House vote

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WASHINGTON -

President Donald Trump's push for tax reform cleared its first hurdle Thursday – passing in the Republican-controlled House on a near-party line vote, 227-205.

House Speaker Paul Ryan declared it a victory for middle-class families.

"This is about giving hardworking taxpayers bigger paychecks, more take-home pay. This is about giving those families who are struggling piece of mind," said Speaker Ryan. 

Not one Democrat voted in favor of the bill, and 13 House Republicans voted against it, as well.  

Long Island GOP Reps. Peter King, of Seaford, and Lee Zeldin, of Shirley, formally announced their opposition to the bill ahead of the vote. They say its proposed elimination of state and local tax, or SALT, deductions is devastating for Long Islanders, who pay some of the highest taxes in the nation.

Rep. King spoke with reporters again after the bill passed, after casting his no vote. 

"I can only explain my vote. And I voted because it is very damaging to Long Island in particular, and New York in general," said Rep. King. 

The bill that passed may not necessarily become law. The Senate's version of tax reform is not identical, and there are already some GOP senators who are expressing concerns.

In September, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced that the elimination of SALT deductions would mean an average federal tax hike of $4,500 for nearly 1 million Long Islanders. Bob Turner, of Syosset, says he believes many Long Islanders simply can't foot that bill.

"I think it will be devastating for Long Island and for the housing market," says Turner. 

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