Even if House Republicans are able to keep their members in line this week and next, another threat to passage may be taking shape across the Capitol: Senate Republicans are gearing up to release their own tax bill, which is likely to have different provisions and create fresh points of contention.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican leader, said in an interview Monday the chamber’s tax-writing committee wouldn’t be using the House bill as a starting point.
“We’re going to start from scratch, really. We wish them well and I think a lot of what they’ve tried to do is kind of instructive for us,” Cornyn said. “It’s helpful for us to have them go first to see the kind of issues that come up and anticipate those in the Finance Committee markup. But I’m still pretty optimistic we’ll get this done before Thanksgiving.”
Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch said he plans to release a tax bill for his committee to consider “once the House Ways and Means Committee completes its work, hopefully toward the end” of the week.
House Tax Chief Says Bill Hits Special Interests
House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady told his panel it faces “a monumental challenge” this week: “coming together to fix a tax code that has become just as broken, complex and unfair as the one President Reagan and Congress overhauled in 1986.”
In his opening statement, Brady said the bill, which would cut tax rates for corporations and certain closely held businesses as well as for individuals, would spur economic growth. He said that by removing breaks for special interests, the bill would make the tax system fairer for all.
“This is liberation from high tax rates that punish hardworking Americans while Washington special interests get a pass,” Brady said. The bill would end a tax system that is “by special interests, of special interests and for special interests,” he said.
He added that although members had requests that weren’t ultimately included in the tax legislation, “I can assure you this is not the last tax markup our committee will ever hold.”
Rep. Richard Neal, the panel’s top Democrat, cited concerns over the bill’s proposals related to companies’ offshore profits, and changes to deductions for mortgage interest and medical expenses.