Republicans Plan to Release Tax Overhaul Details Week of Sept. 25 -Update

Date : 09/13/2017 @ 12:31PM
Source : Dow Jones News

Republicans Plan to Release Tax Overhaul Details Week of Sept. 25 -Update

By Richard Rubin 

WASHINGTON -- Republicans plan to show more details about their tax plans during the week of Sept. 25, as they prepare for a legislative sprint toward one of their top priorities.

"We will release a consensus document with the core elements of big, bold tax reform," Rep. Kevin Brady (R., Texas) told reporters Wednesday.

Mr. Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, laid out the fall schedule for House Republicans Wednesday morning.

"The stakes are higher than ever that we deliver," he told his colleagues, according to a person in the room.

Republicans hope to finish the budget process -- a prerequisite for fast-tracking a tax bill through the Senate without Democratic votes -- by mid-October. After that, they plan to release and vote on actual tax legislation.

The need to pass a budget has created a bit of a conundrum for Republicans. Some lawmakers, including House Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows (R., N.C.) have been clamoring for more details on the evolving tax plan before they are willing to advance the budget. But the tax bill's writers need the budget and its revenue targets so they can lay out all the specific details.

Rep. Dave Brat (R., Va.) said Mr. Brady's timeline was too plodding for his liking.

"No, we need it like now. ASAP," he said. "They've been promising that to us for four or five months. 'We're going to get you the bullet points, we're going to get you the details.'"

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said narrow tax cuts like what Congress did in 2001 and 2003 won't fix the structural problems in the economy.

"We're weighing down our economy with a terrible tax system," he said in an interview with the Associated Press.

Mr. Brady has been working with top officials from the Senate and the Trump administration on the GOP tax agenda this year. Their goals are to lower tax rates and simplify the tax system, but they are struggling with the arithmetic and political choices needed to get there.

Mr. Trump is meeting Wednesday with a bipartisan group of House members on taxes, after meeting with a bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday night. Mr. Ryan said he would bet that some House Democrats will vote for the eventual tax bill.

House Republicans are trying, as much as possible, to work from the same framework as the Senate and the Trump administration so that any disputes are over finer points and not the broad aims and outlines.

"We have a full bill. That's not a problem," said Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), a senior Ways and Means member. "Showing it is the challenge."

Mr. Nunes said lawmakers are still working through the trade-offs needed to drive down tax rates. On the corporate side, President Donald Trump wants to lower the 35% rate to 15%, though most analysts think that is nearly impossible.

"You can get it to 20, but everybody's going to come in and complain. So then you just have to assume that's going to get back up to 25. It depends how many people complain," Mr. Nunes said. "If we're below 25, I think it would be good."

House Republicans are bracing for a flurry of interest-group lobbying once they show which tax breaks would get curtailed. Limits on the deduction for business interest would meet resistance from the private equity, real estate and agriculture industries. House members from New York and New Jersey are pushing back against a plan to repeal the deduction for state and local taxes.

In tweets on Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump urged Congress to move quickly, linking the bill to recent hurricanes.

"With Irma and Harvey devastation, Tax Cuts and Tax Reform is needed more than ever before," he wrote. "Go Congress, go!"

"A tax cut, particularly one for the very wealthy, is not going to help Florida or Texas rebuild from these storms," Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) said. "We're about to add billions to the deficit to rebuild parts of our country, something we absolutely should do because it's an emergency. But that makes it even more important that tax reform be fiscally responsible and deficit neutral."

Kristina Peterson contributed to this article

Write to Richard Rubin at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 13, 2017 12:16 ET (16:16 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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