Trump, House Republicans Discussing Phase-Two of Tax Reform

A top House tax writer has confirmed that House Republicans and the Trump administration are working on a second phase of tax reform this year. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., said in an interview this week that the Trump administration and House Republicans “think more can be done.”

A Ways and Means spokesperson told Wolters Kluwer on March 15 that “there are opportunities in making individual tax cuts permanent, increasing innovation, [and] encouraging household savings.” Confirmation that House GOP tax writers are mulling additional tax changes to the tax code comes just days after President Trump announced that he and House Republicans are very serious about working on a “phase-two” of tax reform (TAXDAY, 2018/03/14, C.1). Trump quipped that Brady is the “king of tax cuts.”

Individual Tax Cuts

Among expected changes, in particular, the temporary individual tax cuts enacted under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) (P.L. 115-97) could be made permanent, a Ways and Means spokesperson told Wolters Kluwer. For budgetary reasons, the cuts to individual tax rates and benefits were not made permanent under the new law. “While the tax cuts for families were long-term, they are not yet permanent, so we’re going to address issues like that,” Brady said.

Criticism

Democratic lawmakers remain largely united in their criticisms of the TCJA. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., criticized the new tax law in a March 15 news conference for “giving 83 percent of the benefits to the top 1 percent, ultimately raising taxes for 86 million middle-class families while contending that it’s a middle-class tax cut.”

To that end, across the U.S. Capitol, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer has said Democrats would be reluctant to work with Republicans in making any fixes to the new tax law unless Republicans would be willing to address Democrats’ concerns with the law, as well. “We don’t have much of an inclination, unless they want to open up other parts of the tax bill that we think need changes, to just help them clean up the mess they made, “Schumer said.

Looking Forward

“Mainstream optimism is at record levels, our economy is really gaining momentum and booming in a big way,” Brady said. “We’re always looking to improve the tax code,” he said, adding that lawmakers are currently considering new ideas for tax reform. “We think there are some good ones.” Lawmakers will not combine additional tax reform measures with technical corrections to the existing TCJA, according to Brady, emphasizing that any significant changes to come will be new ideas.

By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff
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