Accessibility links

US Senate, House Republicans to Unveil Tax Reform Bills

  • VOA News

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., meets with reporters as he encourages support for Republican tax reform legislation, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 9, 2017.

Two Republican bills that would achieve the largest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in more than 30 years are set to be unveiled Thursday.

While Senate Republicans are working out final details of their legislation, the House Republican tax-writing committee is working to approve its version after days of negotiation and last-minute changes.

Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate are hoping to fulfill a self-imposed deadline of ushering the bills out of both chambers before the November 23rd Thanksgiving holiday to devote the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas to reconciling the two measures.

A tax code overhaul is a top priority for President Donald Trump and Republican legislators who have not achieved any major legislative accomplishments this year despite controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress.

Democratic lawmakers are vehemently opposed to the partisan effort to rewrite the tax code, and the defeats Republicans endured in Tuesday's state and local elections in Virginia, New Jersey and elsewhere emphasized the political risks of failing to achieve results.

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y. speaks about the Republican tax reform plan on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 9, 2017.
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y. speaks about the Republican tax reform plan on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 9, 2017.

Trump and Republican lawmakers are calling for tax cuts for corporations and individuals and leaders on both chambers have looked for ways to pay for them. Senator David Perdue said the Senate bill would eliminate tax deductions people can take for state and local property, income and sales taxes. A tax deduction is a reduction in tax obligation from taxpayers' gross income. The House version would retain the deduction only for property taxes and cap it at $10,000.

The Senate plan will delay its reduction in the corporate tax rate by one year to take effect in 2019, Republican Senate Finance Committee member Bill Cassidy said Thursday.

Lowering the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from its current 35 percent has been a goal of Trump and the business sector, and postponing the cut would help contain the bill's costs.

In addition to the proposed corporate tax rate cut, the measures propose to trim tax rates for many, but not all, middle-class families, broadly defined in the United States as those with an annual household income of $49,000 to $86,000.

An analysis released Wednesday by the he non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has concluded the Republican House measure would add $1.7 trillion to the country's debt during the next decade, about $259 billion more than previously assumed.

Republican lawmakers had pledged the tax cuts over the next decade would not add any more than $1.5 trillion to the country's current and growing long-term debt of more than $20 trillion.

With the CBO's estimate the tax changes would cost more, House Republicans would have to change their proposals to keep the additional costs within the $1.5 trillion limit they have imposed on themselves.

XS
SM
MD
LG