Senate and House Republicans have reached agreement on a unified tax reform proposal, said Senate Finance Committee (SFC) Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah. “We reached the agreement,” Hatch told reporters on November 13.
Senate, House GOP Reach Agreement
Hatch confirmed the agreement just before the Senate and House conference committee public meeting on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Bill (HR 1 ). Hatch said he was heading to the White House to discuss the details with President Trump. He did not himself confirm any of the provisions.
The new tax reform plan would reportedly propose a 21 percent corporate tax rate that would take effect in 2018. Currently, the tax reform bills approved in the Senate and House propose a 20 percent rate. However, under the Senate’s amendment the rate does not kick in until 2019. Further, the top income tax rate on the individual side would fall to 37 percent from its current 39.6 percent rate, according to several reports.
Additionally, the income deduction rate for passthrough businesses would reportedly be set at 20 percent. The increase will likely gain the vote of Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who has previously refused to back the proposal until it raised the deduction rate for passthrough income.
President Trump told reporters on November 13 that he would be “thrilled” to support a corporate tax rate of 21 percent in contrast to the current 35 percent top rate. “We have haven’t set that final figure yet, but certainly 21 is a very great difference,” Trump said at a meeting with conference committee members Hatch and Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, R-Tex.
Despite Hatch’s confirmation that an agreement has been reached, there are still reportedly various nuances that need to be worked out. “We are very close,” Trump said.
Conference Committee Meeting
The conference committee discussed HR 1 on December 13 for close to four hours. SFC ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called the meeting a “sham,” citing to news that an agreement among GOP lawmakers had already been struck.
“This is an obvious attempt to lend credibility to a baseless Republican talking point about following regular order. But nobody should mistake this conference for a serious debate — not when Republicans and special-interest lobbyists have already wrapped up the real talks in secret,” Wyden said.
The final version of the committee conference report is reportedly still being drafted and is expected to be filed by Friday, December 15. A Senate and House vote on a unified tax reform bill are expected next week and could begin as soon as December 18 in the Senate. Republicans remain optimistic of having tax reform legislation enacted before Christmas.
By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff