House Republicans are speeding their bill to the next step, a vote scheduled for Thursday on a bill that would slash the corporate tax rate, cut taxes for individuals and reduce the number of tax brackets. The Senate will also have to vote on its version, and then the two bills, if they both pass, would be reconciled in conference.
The president has been urging Republicans to pass tax legislation for months, and political pressure has been building for the GOP-controlled Congress to pass a tax bill, given that as the year comes to a close, they have no major legislative victories. After the House and Senate introduced their bills, the president tweeted from his travels in Asia that he’d like to see a couple of tweaks to the bills — including ending the Obamacare individual mandate and a further reduction in taxes. “Cut top rate to 35% w/all of the rest going to middle income cuts,” he tweeted Monday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the Senate bill will now include the repeal of the mandate. House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday did not rule out changing the bill before the vote.
Here’s what the House version of the measure would do:
- Corporate tax rate would be cut from 35 percent to 20 percent;
- It nearly doubles the standard deduction — from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals and $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples;
- The child tax credit would be expanded from $1,000 to $1,600, and the child and dependent care tax credit would be continue at $300;
- The home mortgage interest deduction would be capped at $500,000;
- It eliminates the Alternative Minimum tax;
- The bill also eliminates the Estate tax
Though there’s broad support among GOP lawmakers for tax reform, there is still some disagreement in the ranks about how the cuts should be distributed and paid for. Some object to reductions to state and local tax deductions, while others worry that middle class taxpayers are not seeing a substantial enough cut, for instance. Fiscal hawks object to costly tax cuts that will worsen the deficit.
Another consideration is the use of reconciliation to move the bill. It gives Republicans the ability to pass the measure with a simple majority in the Senate, but creates some hurdles, most notably the need to limit the cost of the bill to what was set by the budget resolution. The Senate and House agreed on a bill that would allow them to add $1.5 trillion to the debt (which budget watchdogs like the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget assess as already excessive).
Who opposes the House GOP tax bill?
There are 434 members of Congress, since Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy, a Republican, resigned in October and has not been replaced. Republicans will therefore still need 218 votes to pass the bill, and there are 240 GOP lawmakers and 194 Democrats in the House. With the expectation that no Democrats will support this bill, Republicans can afford to lose 22 members.
Here are the Republican lawmakers who say they cannot support the bill in its current form.
- Dan Donovan, New York
- Darrell Issa, California
- Walter Jones, North Carolina
- Peter King, New York
- Leonard Lance, New Jersey
- Frank LoBiondo, New Jersey
- Chris Smith, New Jersey
- Elise Stefanik, New York
- Lee Zeldin, New York
Reporting by CBS News’ Catherine Reynolds
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