House and Senate GOP leaders reconciling the two chambers’ tax overhaul bills reached an agreement in principle Wednesday morning, according to published reports, with a 21% corporate tax rate and 37% top individual tax rate.
But lawmakers failed to officially confirm to reporters such an agreement as they entered a 2 p.m. House and Senate conference committee meeting to reconcile the bills on Wednesday.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a member of the Senate conference committee, told reporters before entering the meeting that “I’m the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee and I haven’t even been informed of the changes that have been made here in the last 12 hours. From news reports, not one of these changes go to benefit the middle class.”
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, told reporters “it feels very close” as he entered the conference meeting on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said he wanted to see a score of the tax plan before the vote, which is set for next week.
Each conferee was given three minutes for opening statements as the conference committee meeting commenced.
Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., requested that the vote be delayed until the newly elected Democratic senator from Alabama, Doug Jones, is sworn in. “That option is not available,” Brady countered.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., stated in his opening remarks that “this meeting is a farce. Published reports say the final legislation has already been completed.”
Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., added that “headlines” read an agreement has been reached, “and we’re having a conference committee on two bills that passed? This is indeed a mockery.”
Former tax attorney Andrew Friedman told ThinkAdvisor on Wednesday that with the “agreement in principle” Wednesday morning, the tax cut package is “a done deal. It’s been a done deal since the House first released a detailed plan a few weeks ago.”