Final Republican tax bill slashes U.S. rate for businesses, wealthy and middle-class

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans’ final tax legislation proposes cutting taxes as expected for businesses, the wealthy and some middle-class Americans, according to a summary seen by Reuters on Friday, with decisive votes expected next week in a critical moment for the party and President Donald Trump.

Prospects for approval of the biggest U.S. tax overhaul since 1986 were improving, with two formerly wavering Republican senators pledging support: Marco Rubio and Bob Corker.

But three Republican senators, enough to defeat the measure, were still uncommitted: Susan Collins, Jeff Flake and Mike Lee. With Democrats solidly opposed, Republicans can afford to lose only two votes from within their ranks and still win passage in a chamber that Trump’s party controls by a slim 52-48 margin.

The bill would cut the corporate income tax rate to 21 per cent from 35 per cent, according to the summary. Corporate tax lobbyists have been seeking such a dramatic cut for many years.

It would also create a 20-per cent business income tax deduction for owners of “pass-through” businesses, such as partnerships and sole proprietorships; allow for immediate write-off by corporations of new equipment costs; and eliminate the corporate alternative minimum tax, according to the summary.

Since they swept to power in Washington in January, Trump and the Republicans have not managed to pass any major legislation and have lost closely watched elections in Alabama and Virginia, while Trump’s public approval ratings are at historically low levels.

Ramming the sweeping tax package through Congress would represent their first significant legislative achievement and fulfill promises about a tax overhaul that Trump made to voters last year on the way to his unexpected capture of the White House.

Trump wants a bill on his desk before the Dec. 25 Christmas holiday so he can sign it into law and finish 2017 with at least one big win in Congress before the 2018 mid-term election campaigns, when Republicans will have to defend their Senate and House of Representatives majorities.

Democrats have called the Republican tax legislation a giveaway to corporations and the wealthy that would drive up the federal deficit.

The Republican bill would maintain the existing seven individual and family income tax brackets with rates of 10, 12, 22, 24, 32, 35 and 37 per cent. That top rate, for the highest-earning Americans, would be cut from today’s 39.6 per cent.

Stock markets have been rallying for months in anticipation of sharply lower tax rates for corporations, wealthy financiers and business owners, all of which the bill would deliver.

Wall Street’s three major stock indexes closed at record highs on Friday, driven by corporate tax rates looked like it would win enough support from lawmakers to pass.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.58 per cent to 24,651.74, the S&P 500 gained 0.90 per cent to 2,675.81 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.17 per cent, to 6,936.58.

© Thomson Reuters 2017

Final Republican tax bill slashes U.S. corporate rate: summary

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congressional Republicans’ final tax legislation proposes cutting taxes as expected for businesses, the wealthy and some middle-class Americans, according to a summary seen by Reuters on Friday, with decisive votes expected next week in a critical moment for the party and President Donald Trump.

Turkish banker on trial denies helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions

NEW YORK (Reuters) – An executive at Turkey’s majority state-owned Halkbank took the witness stand in a New York courtroom on Friday and denied charges that he participated in a scheme to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions.

Leading U.S. antitrust senator urges hearing on Disney, Fox deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senator Amy Klobuchar, the top Democrat on the Senate antitrust panel, urged the subcommittee on Friday to hold a hearing on Walt Disney Co’s plan to buy a number of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc businesses.

TouchArcade iOS Gaming Roundup: Bridge Constructor Portal, Fez, Inside, and More

December historically has been the busiest month for iOS game releases, and so far this year has not disappointed. We’re absolutely drowning in unbelievable ports, great game releases, and even more amazing titles scheduled to launch next week. The only problem is how truly spoiled iOS gamers are when it comes to choice — If you’re at all into mobile gaming, you probably have a massive backlog already. Whether you download these games now or just mentally bookmark them, they should at least be on your radar.



Gorogoa is a puzzle game where players are put to the task of manipulating four panels of illustrations. Playing the game involves discovering the puzzle’s goal, and trying to execute on it using familiar touch gestures of zooming and rearranging these panels around. Here’s an excerpt from our review:

With its sense of artistic cohesion and its inventiveness, Gorogoa impressed me as few other puzzle games have, and I can’t see any player who enjoys puzzle games even a bit not enjoying it. It might not be the longest game in App Store history, but it also doesn’t overstay its welcome, which can be an issue with story-heavy puzzle games. Gorogoa really is a gem of a game that belongs on most people’s devices and one that will cast its magic on you as soon as you start playing. …Read More



Fez Pocket Edition is a pint-sized version of Polytron’s hit puzzler, Fez. The game is a 2D platformer, but its main puzzle mechanic involves rotating the 2D world in 3D, exposing new faces of the world to explore. For instance, a tiny platform in one dimension, when rotated 90 degrees, suddenly could become a walkway. We also reviewed Fez:

Fez is a very good game, and I love how the player never really faces any consequences for failure. It goes a long way in creating an experience that’s fun from beginning to end, instead of being loaded with frustration because you ran out of continues and missed a jump. The virtual controls are basically in line with most other games that have reasonably decent virtual button configurations, but the “real” way to play Fez is with an MFi controller.

Whether you pair a controller, or wrestle with virtual buttons, as long as you’re actually playing Fez, you’ll be in for a great time. …Read More



Square Enix has been all over the App Store lately, and Life is Strange is an incredibly welcome addition. It’s a point and click adventure game with a unique twist: Your character has the ability to rewind time, which allows you to alter the story both in good and bad ways. We absolutely loved it in our review, and the only thing stopping us from scoring the first episode higher was some annoying technical issues which I’m sure will be ironed out in future updates:

Since this is the first episode, Dontnod did a great job with making me hate the episodic format upon release. The first episode literally had me craving for more and the wait for episode 2 was unbearable. You won’t need to worry about that because Episodes 2 and 3 are available right now via in app purchase with the remaining episodes launching early next year. I hope the visual issues and some performance issues are ironed out because this could end up being the best way to experience Life is Strange. The lack of proper controller support is baffling because this exists on multiple consoles. Out of all the point and click adventure experiences available today, Life is Strange is my favourite by a long shot. I hope this does well for Square Enix so they can port Life is Strange: Before the Storm as well. …Read More



Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty! has tons of history behind it. It’s a ground-up remake of the original Oddworld released on the Playstation, which eventually made its way to PS4 and now to the App Store. Gameplay hinges around solving puzzles and platforming by controlling other creatures in game with a feature called GameSpeak which was incredibly innovative in its day. We have lots of good things to say in our review:

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty! is a faithful port of an excellent classic remake. If you game with an MFi controller, it’s a ridiculously easy title to recommend. In the absence of that option, you need only ask yourself how well you can cope with what is a relatively complex layout of virtual buttons. If nothing else, the controls are better here than they were in the other mobile Oddworld titles. If you were okay with those games, you’ll be more than fine here. If not, you may want to skip this one. But I really do suggest giving them a solid go. The game is fantastic, and if you have to spend a little time adjusting to the controls to experience it, you’ll still find the effort worth it in the end. …Read More



It’s wild just how many Ace Attorney games there are on the App Store, and Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth is the latest to join the long list of titles mobile gamers have to choose from. This time around, we follow Phoenix Wright’s rival and sometimes-ally, Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth, and the game virtually abandons the courtroom in favor of focusing on the investigations themselves. Here’s an excerpt from our review:

Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth is a little different from the usual Ace Attorney game, but it carries a similar feel and quality that should please fans of the other games. The mobile version is sensibly improved from the original Nintendo DS release, as well. Adventure game fans would do well to give this game a look. As with other Ace Attorney games, it’s a bit of a long haul, with over 20 hours of play required to reach the ending, but you won’t notice the time passing by for a pretty good portion of that. …Read More



Inside hit the App Store this week, and its just as brutally unforgiving as its predecessor, Limbo. This 2.5D platformer begins with a boy running through the woods in a surreal dystopian world filled death. The amount of times you’ll die playing through this game is unreal, and deaths are particularly gruesome. That being said, even though we didn’t have a ton of fun with the game, we gave major props to what a high quality port it is in our review:

I probably would’ve scored Inside quite a bit lower had the port not be so unbelievably well done. I started playing it on my iPad, and it occurred to me that I should check and see if it’s iPhone X optimized. I downloaded the game on my iPhone, and not only is it in full iPhone X widescreen, but it just automagically loaded my save game from my iPad on the first launch without me needing to do anything. This kind of cross-compataibility and iCloud syncing magic is the exact kind of future I want to be living in. Developers bringing their games to the App Store from other platforms should take a good long look at Inside.

If you enjoyed Limbo (or similar trial and error puzzle games), chances are you didn’t even need this review to smash the buy button- You’ll really dig Inside. However, if you’re like me and aren’t really into the obtuseness of it all, there’s a lot to like about it but I’m not sure I’d consider the game a must-have. …Read More



Next week Bridge Constructor Portal hits the App Store (on the 20th, to be precise), and we absolutely cannot wait. The Bridge Constructor series of games have been among the best bridge builders on the platform, and who doesn’t love a completely unexpected Portal mashup? GLaDOS coming to iOS seems like a dream come true, and I really hope they manage to slide in some additional Portal world building. Needless to say, when this launches, we’ll also have a review up.

That’s about it for the world of iOS gaming this week. This is just a tiny, tiny snippet of what’s been happening, so if you’re even remotely interested in mobile gaming be sure to follow along with the day to day developments over on TouchArcade.

Discuss this article in our forums

Argentine Congress to make fresh attempt at pension debate on Monday

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s lower house of Congress will try on Monday to debate the government’s pension bill, lawmakers said on Friday, after the first attempt at discussing it this week ended with violent protests that forced the legislature to suspend session.