What You Need to Know
- Republicans want $45 billion in business-related tax breaks; Democrats prefer a full extension of last year’s $100 billion child-tax benefit.
- Janice Mays, a former Ways and Means Committee aide, said willingness for the two sides to work together in December depends on how they feel after the election.
When Congress returns in a few weeks, Republicans and Democrats will be focusing on a compromise to extend tax breaks for both low-income children and corporations — which would hand wins to both parties before year’s end but after the critical midterm elections.
Any deal would resolve a series of tax issues that each party has tried to address. Republicans have warned about damage to U.S. investment and innovation, while Democrats say they won’t vote for any business-tax incentives unless the child-tax credit is also addressed.
Success is seen hinging on the outcome of the November midterm election, with a resounding win for one party likely inhibiting compromise before the new Congress takes office. Passage could offer a marginal lift to households and companies next year just as the US faces rising risks of a recession.
The GOP wants to extend an expansive tax break for research expenses, a write-off for corporate-debt costs and a tax break letting companies deduct all their capital-expenditure costs in a single year.
Democrats aim to revive a more generous version of the child-tax credit, which was raised from $2,000 per child to as much as $3,600 in President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan in 2021. That version of the benefit, which was distributed via monthly payments rather than being included in a tax refund, expired at the end of last year.
After failed attempts by Democrats to include the child-tax credit in what eventually became the Inflation Reduction Act, and by Republicans to secure the breaks for business in the July semiconductor-subsidy bill, negotiators on both sides now see a path to cutting a deal.
Talk of a deal on tax breaks is underway despite inflation running at 40-year highs. Tax cuts, like additional government spending, risk adding to price pressures in the economy, even though Republicans have put inflation at the center of their midterm election campaigns against Democrats.
Combining the policies may be the only way for any of them to pass in a Senate where 60 votes are necessary and there’s currently a 50-50 partisan split.
“The prospects for the child-tax credit extension are better than they’ve been at any other point this year,” said Adam Ruben, the Director of Economic Security Project Action, which is advocating for the benefit. “There’s real momentum.”
Proponents for the business side also expressed hope that their priorities will be addressed this year. Chris Netram, a managing vice president at the National Association of Manufacturers, said that there is bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate for the research and development deduction extension.
“We cannot allow this moment to pass,” Netram said.
Any compromise will be off-putting to the most extreme factions of each party.