Wealthy business owners, such as President Donald Trump, stand to gain from a provision in the Republican tax bill that creates a valuable deduction for owners of pass-through businesses, Democrats and some tax experts say.
The provision creates a 20 percent business income deduction, with some limits, for sole proprietors and owners in partnerships and other non-corporate enterprises.
It was initially sold by Republicans as a way to help small businesses and create jobs. But the final formula for determining what types of businesses can benefit has widened to take in companies with few, if any, workers, critics said.
"The president will try to tell the American people that his great political victory is a win for working people, but they see all the benefits going to his type of businesses: real estate pass-throughs," Democratic Senator Jack Reed said on the Senate floor.
Trump, a real estate developer, wants to sign the Republican tax bill into law this week, which would give Republicans their first major legislative victory of 2017. The House of Representatives and Senate were hurrying toward passage of the bill on Tuesday, with a final House vote set for Wednesday.
On House Speaker Paul Ryan's website, he said pass-through businesses employed about half of U.S. private-sector workers.
High tax rates, he said, "discourage investment and job creation, discourage business activity, and put American businesses at a competitive disadvantage."