Trump administration hopes Congress to pass tax reform bill by November

Jerome Frank
August 2, 2017

In Tuesday's letter, Democrats said bipartisan tax reform should offer no relief for the wealthy, citing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's assertion last November that there would be no absolute tax cut for the upper class.

The White House is not Wednesday to having congressional Republicans use the budget reconciliation process to advance a tax overhaul and is eyeing red state Democrats up for re-election as possible partners in the effort, legislative affairs director Marc Short said Monday.

Caroline Harris, chief tax policy counsel at the US Chamber of Commerce, said the unity now being displayed by the Republicans on tax was an important development. "Tax reform can not be a cover story for delivering tax cuts to the wealthiest".

Mnuchin said they are proud of their group of six, representing the House, the Senate and the administration on the same page for the fundamental principles of the tax reform, noting it is "critical" to get the tax reform done this year.

In the letter, the Democrats said they "will not support any effort to pass deficit-financed tax cuts, which would endanger critical programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other public investments in the future".

The National Retail Federation also praised the removal of the BAT from the tax reform proposal, as did Americans for Affordable Products, a 600-member coalition opposing the tax.

The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to mark up a bill first, hopefully the first week back in September, Short said.

The White House's framework for cutting taxes could widen the deficit at least $5 trillion over 10 years unless there are major changes, budget analysts have warned, a figure that would probably imperil the bill. "And if he doesn't, then I guess we'll have to figure out from a congressional standpoint what we do".

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"One of the takeaways of the failure of health care is that we've got to keep the legislation simple and focused", said Steve Moore, a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group.

Notably, House Republicans have said they remain committed to using reconciliation, saying that's the only vehicle in which they anticipate getting a tax bill through Congress given widespread differences on the issue with Democrats.

Several groups are pushing the White House to "pay for" the tax cuts by eliminating commensurate tax breaks, something the White House has yet to settle on as an approach.

Mnuchin also argued that President Trump is ready for the brewing battle over tax reform.

Currently, the tax reform effort is still in its infant stages. The White House has proposed dropping the tax rate to 15 percent, though it has signaled it might have to agree to something higher to get a consensus. It can't say how it would prevent wealthy individuals from setting up tax shelters to take advantage of a reduced corporate rate.

Democrats, the insurance industry and some Republicans say halting those subsidies would roil insurance markets and boost premiums for many consumers. We want to make sure that the corporate rate is fairer so that American jobs can stay here instead of fleeing overseas.

Top Senate Republicans think it's time to leave their derailed drive to scrap the Obama health care law behind them.

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told the cable business network CNBC on Friday that the goal was to cut taxes as much as politically possible.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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