The United States Senate approved a bill proposing major tax cuts, just hours after midnight on Saturday, taking President Donald Trump closer to his first major legislative victory.

The proposed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act wants to cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% permanently, and plans lower taxes for about 70% of the middle-class families until 2026. The Democratic Party believes the bill will benefit only the wealthy and big businesses, while the Republican Party called it “a great day for the country”, The New York Times reported.

Trump wants the bill to become law by Christmas. The bill’s provisions will now be merged with those of another tax bill passed by the House of Representatives in November, and then needs Trump’s signature to be enacted into law.

The Senate voted for the bill 51-49, as one Republican Senator, Bob Corker, voted against it, along with all Democrat Senators. Last-minute changes were made by the Republicans to win over some of its own leaders who had objected to some provisions of the bill. The hurried changes did not go down well with the Democrats.

Democrat Chuck Schumer said this was “a process and a product that no one can be proud of and everyone should be ashamed of”. Schumer said the changes made to the original bill “under the cover of darkness” would “stuff even more money into the pockets of the wealthy and the biggest corporations while raising taxes on millions in the middle class”.

The plan to eliminate some tax exemptions will effectively raise taxes for millions of families, the Democrats say.

A Senate committee had found that the bill, if enacted, would add $1 trillion (Rs 64.5 lakh crore) to the US’ budget deficit. However, the Republicans believe that the tax cuts would lift the economy enough to negate the deficit.

Corker, the opposing Republican, said: “I am not able to cast aside my fiscal concerns and vote for legislation that...could deepen the debt burden on future generations.”