Kevin Brady

GOP Tax Bill Signed, Nearly Sealed and Delivered

Senate Finance Chairman Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, left, and House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, conduct the Senate-House Conference Committee meeting on the GOP tax bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican tax writers signed off Friday on a compromise plan to overhaul the tax code, bringing House and Senate negotiations to a close and setting up final votes on the legislation early next week.

The tax conference agreement was set to be released Friday at 5:30 p.m. Some key details are already known, like a proposed corporate tax rate of 21 percent; a top individual rate of 37 percent; and a 20 percent deduction for “pass-through” business income.

Photos of the Week: Jones Wins in Alabama, Tax Conference Gavels In
The week of Dec. 11 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi arrive for a news conference in the Capitol on Wednesday. They spoke out against the Republican tax plan ahead of the Senate-House conference committee meeting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Revealed: An Exclusive Ways and Means Secret Tradition
Committee members whose names start with P have passed along guardianship of a cactus for 25 years

The Pease Cactus sits in the Rayburn Building office of Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., on Thursday after it was given to him by Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is an institution full of secret traditions, but perhaps the most secret is the 25-year-old bipartisan one of handing down a cactus to certain members of the Ways and Means Committee.

Owners of the Pease Cactus, named for Ohio Democrat Don Pease and called the “Ps Cactus” for short, are an exclusive group of seven past and present committee members. So exclusive that Chairman Kevin Brady didn’t even know about the tradition until now.

GOP in Home Stretch on Tax Bill, Eyeing Senate Attendance

House Ways and Means chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, left, and ranking member Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., prepare for the Senate-House Conference Committee meeting on tax bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Tax Bill Set to Move at Warp Speed to Trump’s Desk
Some hurdles still remain, but Republicans feel confident they have the votes

House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, left, and ranking member Richard E. Neal prepare for the tax bill conference committee meeting Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Don’t blink, because you might miss Congress passing a historic overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

House and Senate Republicans say they are nearing completion on a sweeping bill that would dramatically reduce the corporate tax rate, lower the top individual tax rate, nearly double the standard deduction, bolster the child tax credit and remove some breaks enjoyed by many Americans.

Those That Shall Not Be Named: Cost Sharing Reductions
Once a nonstarter, health insurance subsidies part of year-end calculus

Speaker Paul D. Ryan once panned a measure that would restore cost-sharing reduction subsidies for health insurance companies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In Congress, where most lawmakers are hesitant to spill secrets about ongoing negotiations, answers are often found in what lawmakers are not saying. And House Republican leaders are not saying much about subsidies for health care insurers lately.

GOP leaders’ continued refusal in recent weeks to rule out funding the cost-sharing reduction subsidies, or CSRs, which President Donald Trump’s administration has stopped paying, is not a guarantee that Congress will do so. But it’s certainly a green light for negotiations to continue.

Trump: GOP ‘Very Close’ on Tax Bill, Effects Would Start in February
President endorses 21 percent corporate rate

President Donald Trump said floor votes on the GOP compromise tax bill are “just days away.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:46 p.m. | President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that Republican House and Senate tax negotiators have struck a deal on a final overhaul measure. He said Americans will feel the benefits by February if Congress sends him a bill by Christmas.

“As I speak, Congress has reached an agreement on tax legislation that will deliver more jobs, higher wages and massive tax relief for American families and American companies,” the president said, delivering his final pitch flanked by Christmas trees in the White House’s Grand Foyer.

Senate, House Reach Tax Overhaul Agreement
Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch confirms

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, speaks with reporters as he arrives for lunch with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate and House Republicans have reached a broad agreement on a major overhaul of the U.S. tax code, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch said Wednesday.

As he was leaving for the White House, the Senate Finance Chairman confirmed the House and Senate have reached a deal on overhauling the tax code.

Democrats Push GOP to Delay Tax Talks After Alabama
But Republican tax conference committee is full speed ahead

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones's victory in the Senate race to replace Jeff Sessions could scramble the legislative calculus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats were quick to call on Republicans to delay their efforts to rewrite the tax code, saying Doug Jones' victory in Tuesday’s special Senate election in Alabama is a sign from voters that needs to be heeded.

“The vote on the tax bill should be postponed. The voice of Alabamians should be heard on this and Doug Jones should have a chance to weigh in,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told reporters Wednesday.

A Tax Conference Committee Meeting Mostly For Show
Parameters are clear for final Republican push on tax bill

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady makes his way to a meeting in the speaker’s office in the Capitol on Dec. 6. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Nothing against the members of the House and Senate attending Wednesday’s inaugural meeting of the conference committee finalizing the tax code overhaul, but it’s mostly for show and unlikely to be must-see television.

That’s because, with the arguable exception of the farm bill, open meetings of conference committees are not where the deals get done, despite the talking points from top negotiators.