That short span reflects an unusually fast process in both chambers, said William Galston, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based policy group. The House passed its tax bill 14 days after releasing its text.
“‘Unusually fast’ understates how remarkable this legislative process is,” Galston said. “One reason these bills are going through so quickly is they’re primarily about tax cuts and only secondarily about tax reform.”
The last time that Congress rewrote the tax code, in 1986, “the actual legislative deliberations over the bill stretched out over months — and it was a good thing,” he said.
More recently, when Democrats tried to overhaul health care in 2009, he said, “the Affordable Care Act was on the table for six months, or more” as then-Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus negotiated that summer with Republicans, only to come up empty-handed and proceed without them.
At least one GOP senator has complained about the pace. “I’ve got a real problem with this process,” Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said Monday on WISN radio. “I would prefer that this bill would’ve been introduced months ago.”