Policy

GOP Leadership Confident on Votes for House Tax Bill, Brady Says

Both versions still violate Byrd rule by raising deficit after 10 years

From left, Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., ranking member, and Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., attend a House Ways and Means Committee markup. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady told reporters Monday changes could be made to the House tax overhaul bill before it reaches the floor Thursday but they would not be substantive.

“We don’t anticipate major changes,” Brady said of the possibility that Rules Committee would adopt an amendment to the bill when it meets Wednesday. “A lot of the work has been done.”

Brady was optimistic that the tax overhaul bill would pass the House this week.

“Leadership believes, is very confident that we will have — we do and will have — the votes for passage,” the Texas Republican said.

President Donald Trump will meet with the GOP conference Thursday morning ahead of the House’s floor vote, a conference and a White House spokesperson both confirmed.

“Republicans have been incredibly unified throughout this process,” White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said. “Ahead of the House’s upcoming vote on tax reform legislation, the president will speak to the conference about how important cuts and reform are to jumpstart our economy, make our businesses more competitive, and let hardworking Americans keep more of their well-earned paychecks.”

After Trump again tweeted his support Monday for repealing the individual mandate in the 2010 health care law as part of the tax overhaul, Brady said it “remains under consideration.” However, he previously indicated it would not be added before House passage.

The House vote “is about moving tax reform to that next crucial step,” Brady said, noting after the Senate passes a bill they will work with them to find common ground. 

The Senate Finance Committee is marking up Chairman Orrin G. Hatch’s proposal this week, with the amendment process beginning Tuesday.

One of the major differences between the two chambers is the Senate would fully repeal the state and local tax deduction, while the House would retain the provision in SALT dealing with property tax deductions, but with a $10,000 cap. Brady said he’s committed to House Republicans that retaining that cap will be a top priority for him in negotiations with the Senate.

The chairman also suggested he will be fighting to ensure the corporate tax rate cut is effective immediately because he wants to see as much growth as early as possible. The Senate plan calls for a one-year delay in cutting the corporate rate to 20 percent.

Still, Brady said the House and Senate are “shooting at the same target and are remarkably close.”

“There are some differences, but that’s healthy,” he added. “At the end of the day we’ll work it out.”

While many outside analyses have shown some income groups would see a tax increase under the GOP bills, Brady said he expects tax relief at every income level.

“The final version of the bill isn’t done yet,” he said. “I think at the end of day, once this bill gets to the president’s desk, every American will be better off. In fact, I will say that about the House version too.”

Both the House and Senate bills have also been analyzed by outside groups to be in violation of the Senate’s Byrd rule because of estimated increases in the deficit outside of the 10-year-budget window.

“I assume the Senate will address it in their process,” Brady said of the potential Byrd violations.

Of the House bill, he said, “We really haven’t analyzed it in the second decade.”

John T. Bennett contributed.

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