House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, helps unveil the framework for what became the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, at a Sept. 27 press conference. (Photo: House) House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady. (Photo: House)

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady said Tuesday that the tax writing committee should have a draft “tax reform 2.0” package addressing charitable contributions and retirement savings measures ready to circulate to House Republicans after the July 4 recess.

Speaking at an event held at The Washington Post called “Tax Reform in America: A Six-Month Report,” Brady, R-Texas, said that the “centerpiece” of a tax reform 2.0 proposal will address “permanency” for middle-class families and small businesses.

During July, Brady said, Ways and Means members will be “listening to our colleagues in the House about what they want to see in 2.0 and incorporating those changes,” adding that he anticipates a “legislative outline” to be released in early August with votes in the fall.

Brady continued that he doesn’t envision 2.0 “as one bill — I see it as a package of two, three or four approaches with permanency being one of them.”

There are retirement savings areas “that we didn’t get to in tax reform,” Brady said, noting measures in the House and Senate in this area will be considered.

“Fine-tuning and tweaks” to the tax code will also be considered concerning charitable contributions, he said. “What I do know is that charitable contributions, whether it’s to your local church or local university, expand when the economy grows, [but] they tend to contract when the economy is not doing well,” Brady said. “We’ve seen that for too long in the United States. In the end, the net will be very positive for organizations who depend upon the generosity of Americans.”

While the House will be moving forward with tax proposals this fall, Brady said timing in the Senate will be up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

“The House’s job is to develop the best 2.0 package to send to the Senate,” he said.

Christopher Shelton, president of the Communications Workers of America, a union representing 700,000 workers in communications and other fields, opined at the event that any new tax reform package must be “pointed to the workers, not companies or the wealthy like this tax law.”

The same day, the Congressional Budget Office released a report stating that debt as a share of GDP will balloon through 2041 primarily because of legislation that boosted projected deficits through 2025, which includes the tax overhaul passed in December as well as subsequent laws that boosted spending.

When asked during the Washington Post event if he worried that the legacy of the tax law could be its impact on the deficit, Kevin Hassett, chairman of President Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers, stated: “I think the deficit is skyrocketing, but it’s not a legacy of the tax law, it’s a legacy of the spending deal that just happened that spent a lot more than the president wanted.”

Brady also stated that he does have “concerns” about the president’s trade policies, and that it’s “very early in tax reform.”

The early signs, he said, “are encouraging — in six months we’ve transformed the question from ‘Where are the jobs?’ to ‘Where are the workers?,’ which is still a challenge, but a good one to have.”