Trump’s Economy

Grant the Republican Party leaders one thing: their tactics in passing their hugely unpopular tax bill have been consistent—consistently evasive. A few weeks ago, the Senate version of the bill was passed in the middle of the night. This weekend, the final iteration of the legislation was made public on Friday evening—a traditional dumping ground for bad news. The Republicans intend to hold votes on the bill early next week in both houses of Congress, and it seems certain to pass.

It is hardly surprising that Republicans don’t want to give anyone too much time to look closely at their latest handiwork. The final tax bill is the product of a conference committee that was tasked with reconciling the different bills passed in the House and the Senate. Almost eleven hundred pages long, the final bill is just as regressive and fiscally irresponsible as either of the two earlier bills, and it is arguably more so. At its center is a huge tax cut for corporations and unincorporated business partnerships—such as the ones that Donald Trump owns—while arrayed around the edges are all sorts of carve-outs and giveaways to favored industries and interest groups.

For individual households, the bill contains some tax cuts and expanded family credits. But these provisions are temporary, and they are also partially offset by changes to the rules about deductions. Because the deduction for state and local taxes will be limited to ten thousand dollars a year, for instance, some upper-middle-class households in states like California and New York could end up paying more to the federal government.

Nowhere to be found in the bill are three elements that House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and their colleagues originally promised to deliver when they urged the American public to embrace tax reform: revenue neutrality, simplicity, and fairness. The final bill is a corrupt, budget-busting hairball.

According to its authors, the bill will increase the budget deficit by about $1.5 trillion over ten years. That’s a lot of money, obviously, but it’s an underestimate. If you adjust the numbers for a series of accounting gimmicks, such as expiration provisions that are unlikely to go into effect, the real cost seems likely to come out at more than two trillion dollars.

To insure that the final bill would have enough votes in both chambers, the conference committee larded the bill with various additional handouts. They reduced the top rate of income tax to thirty-seven per cent, compared to 38.5 per cent in the Senate bill. (Currently, the effective top rate is close to forty-one per cent.) And they did a big favor to large businesses by getting rid of the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax, which many of them could have ended up paying because their tax rates under the new system will be so low.

The principle of simplifying the tax code met the same fate as the principle of fiscal responsibility: it was jettisoned. Originally, the White House proposed reducing the number of tax brackets from seven to three. The final bill contains seven brackets: ten per cent, twelve per cent, twenty-two per cent, twenty-four per cent, thirty-two per cent, thirty-five per cent, and thirty-seven per cent. On the business side, the revised treatment of pass-through income is so complicated that most tax experts don’t yet fully understand it. One thing we doknow is that it will create big incentives for highly paid employees to turn themselves into independent contractors or L.L.C.s, which qualify for the new low business tax rates.

As for fairness, that principle was junked a long time ago. The final bill reflects the same principle as the previous two G.O.P. bills: Dom Perignon for the plutocrats, cheap swill for the masses. The bill is also cruel. In abolishing the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to purchase health insurance, it will make individual plans even more costly and more difficult to obtain, especially for sick people. This isn’t just a tax bill. It is a backdoor effort to overturn the principle of universal access to health care.

As reporters went through the bill on Friday evening, they discovered various quirks, giveaways, and clawbacks, which appeared to reflect last-minute lobbying and rushed rewriting. Businesses owned by trusts were given a break, and so were architectural and engineering firms. On the personal side, the bill was found to contain a substantial marriage penalty: the maximum deduction of ten thousand dollars for state and local taxes is the same for individual filers and couples. That’s bad news for people who are wed—though the blow will be cushioned for those married couples who own sports franchises. The Wall Street Journalreported on Friday night that the bill “preserves the ability to use tax-exempt bonds for professional sports stadium bonds—a priority for Mr. Trump, a GOP aide said.”

Another provision, which wasn’t in the House or Senate bills, allows real-estate developers who own buildings through L.L.C.s, as Trump does, to deduct twenty per cent of the income that these properties generate. To qualify for the break, the properties have to be newish ones that haven’t been fully depreciated. “This helps people who have held property for a while, like Donald Trump,” David Kamin, a law professor at New York University, told David Sirota and Josh Keefe, of the International Business Times.

Another beneficiary of this provision may well be Senator Bob Corker, of Tennessee, who is also a real-estate investor. Corker had been the only Republican to vote against the Senate version of the tax bill, but on Friday he announced that he’d changed his mind, and that “after great thought and consideration, I believe this once-in-a-generation opportunity to make U.S. businesses domestically more productive and internationally more competitive is one we should not miss.” Corker didn’t mention his personal interests, but Sirota and Keefe did. “Federal records reviewed by IBT show that Corker has millions of dollars of ownership stakes in real-estate-related LLCs that could also benefit” from the final bill, they reported. Source

Dec 14, 2017
abc news
GOP tax plan on shaky ground: Rubio announces he’s a no

PHOTO: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., takes his seat for a hearing on North Korea on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 14, 2017.

The tax bill compromise reached by House and Senate negotiators now won’t be unveiled until Monday. And at least one new Republican defector may make it difficult for Congressional Republicans to get the measure to President Donald Trump‘s desk before his Christmas deadline.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., tells ABC News that he is a “no,” unless the bill is changed to include a larger expansion of the child tax credit. It’s currently set at $2,000 per child but only refundable up to $1,100.

“Unless they figure out a way to increase the refundable part, higher than $1,100, the way they figured out a way to give corporations an extra year of cuts, the way they figured out a way to lower the top rate for a family making a million dollars a year…Unless they figure out a way to add to the $1,100 figure, I won’t support the bill,” Rubio said.

Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah also has serious concerns about the bill for the same reason, his office confirms.

Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn. also opposes the plan. He was the lone Republican to oppose the original Senate bill, and he says his “deficit concerns have not been alleviated.”

Senate Republicans can only afford to lose two votes and pass the measure along party-lines. Three “no” votes will sink the effort.

The potential absence of Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., could further complicate the bill’s chances. McCain, who is undergoing treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, was not at work Thursday in the U.S. Senate. His office reported that he is “receiving treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center for normal side effects of his ongoing cancer therapy.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan said that considerations of absences in the Senate could impact which chamber takes the first votes.

“There is discussion about this,” Ryan said. “It’s all about timing and managing absences in the Senate.”

GOP leaders, however, are still optimistic that they will get this done.

Asked if he’s confident this will pass, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, responded with just one word: “yes.”

The final conference report with full details is expected to be unveiled by Republican negotiators Monday–teeing the measure up for a vote in both chambers next week.

Here is what ABC News has learned will be included in that bill:

FOR BUSINESSES — Corporate rate will be cut to 21 percent, down from 35 percent under current law. This is expected to take effect in 2018.

— Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax will be “rolled back” according to Sen. John Cornyn – but not repealed.

FOR THE WEALTHY

— Top individual rate will be cut to 37 percent, down from 39.6 percent under current law.

— Individual Alternative Minimum Tax exemption will be increased to $500k for individuals, $1 million for couples filing jointly. That’s up from $54,300 for individuals, and $84,500 for couples filing jointly under 2017 law.

FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS

— Standard deduction will be increased from $12,700 to $24,400 for joint returns and from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals. According to the Tax Policy Center, more than two-thirds of Americans take the standard deduction when filing taxes.

— Repeal of the individual mandate requiring health insurance. According to CBO, repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate insurance could lead to 13 million more Americans without health insurance, while saving the government $338 billion in federal health insurance subsidy payments over the next decade.

FOR THOSE WHO ITEMIZE

— State and local tax deductions will be capped at $10,000 combined from any/all categories (property/income/sales taxes). Current law caps property tax deduction at $1 million. There are no current caps on state/local income tax deduction.

— Mortgage interest deduction will be capped at $750,000, down from $1 million under current law.

— Graduate school stipend deduction (tax-free tuition waivers) will be preserved.

— Student loan interest deduction will be preserved.

— Medical expense deduction is preserved. It allows Americans to deduct medical expenses not covered by insurance that exceed 10 percent of adjusted gross income.

— Child Tax Credit preserved. That’s currently set at $2,000 per child but only refundable up to $1,100. It remains to be seen whether Rubio’s push to increase that will be reflected in the final bill.

The tax overhaul process has moved at a breakneck pace as Republicans try to pass a massive tax cut for businesses and many American families before Christmas and the end of the year. Many lawmakers and their staffs have been scrambling to digest drafts of the bill and what it means for everyday Americans.

The cost of the measure remains another lingering question. The negotiators still need to work with the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) to secure a final score on the bill’s cost.
Source and video here

Dec 5, 2017
ThinkProgress
Hundreds of protesters fight the GOP tax bill on Capitol Hill
“Kill this bill! Don’t kill us!”

Cameron Smith, center, of Kansas City, Kan., blocks a hallway with others as they protest the Republican tax overhaul bill, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
CAMERON SMITH, CENTER, OF KANSAS CITY, KAN., BLOCKS A HALLWAY WITH OTHERS AS THEY PROTEST THE REPUBLICAN TAX OVERHAUL BILL, TUESDAY, DEC. 5, 2017, ON CAPITOL HILL IN WASHINGTON. (AP PHOTO/JACQUELYN MARTIN)

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nearly 300 protesters stormed the the Cannon Office Building at the House of Representatives Tuesday afternoon, flooding the halls with chants of “Kill this bill, don’t kill us.”

The protesters focused on the offices of Congress members who voted yes on the GOP tax package and are vulnerable in the 2018 midterm elections. Among them: Reps. Ryan Costello (R-PA), Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Charles Dent (R-PA), John Katko (R-NY), David Reichert (R-WA), David Joyce (R-OH), and Ed Royce (R-CA).

For the majority of these protesters, storming the halls of the House building has become common practice, and many present on Tuesday were regulars at protests over the summer during Congress’ multiple failed attempts at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Now that a key provision of the ACA, the individual mandate, is in danger of being repealed in the Senate version of the tax bill, the activists have mobilized again to fight back.

“This is my seventh time here, its gonna be my third time arrested,” said Olga Irwin, an Ohio resident. “I’ve lived with HIV for 20 years, and before the ACA, I had a hard time affording my medicine.”

While an individual mandate repeal is currently only in the Senate plan, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has hinted he is open to including it in the final bill, as the House has voted in favor of repealing it in the past.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, repealing the individual mandate, which requires Americans be covered by health insurance or face a tax, would leave 13 million more uninsured over the next decade, saving the federal government $338 million dollars to help pay for a trillion dollar corporate tax cut. Additionally, this $1.5 trillion dollar tax proposal could trigger an automatic $25 billion dollar cut to Medicare.

“They’re punishing sick people, they’re punishing so many people and what? To give a tax break to the wealthy,” said David Kotelchuck, a New York resident who gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday to protest the repeal of the individual mandate, as well as the repeal of the state and local tax deduction (SALT), which is included in the Senate version as well.

Now outside of @RepDaveJoyce’s office. This Youngstown resident says, “I’ve been living with HIV for 20 years. My medicine cost $10,000 a month. Can you afford that?” pic.twitter.com/LPy5WVlCGv

“My formula costs $1,500 a month. My income is $1,500 a month. I am an orphaned college student. Could you afford that? Because I can’t afford that. You starve Medicare, you starve me!” pic.twitter.com/DN39jx55SJ

Repealing the SALT deduction has been a point of contention for multiple Republican representatives from blue states like New York, New Jersey, and California. Residents in these high tax states would lose the ability to deduct their state and local taxes from their federal tax return.

Other protesters at the Capitol on Tuesday were there to defend smaller deductions that are on the chopping block in the House version of the tax bill.

Eddie Gomez came on behalf of his nephew, who receives funding for his medical treatments thanks to a non-profit funded by charitable donations. Under the House bill, the charitable donation deduction will be repealed, prompting some to worry that it could in turn curb donations to charities.

“A bunch of us are upset about the bill, a bunch of different aspects that don’t benefit anyone but the 1 percent,” Gomez said. “A part of this bill that doesn’t make sense to me is that charitable contributions will no longer be tax deductible and which means less giving and less support for those in need.”

Now that the House and Senate have both passed their respective tax plans, the next step requires both chambers to come together and reconcile their differences in committee, producing a final bill that they hope to get to the president’s desk by Christmas. Source

Dec 2, 2017
cbsnews.com

Read the 479 page Tax Bill here

Dec 1, 2017
Washington Post
Winners and losers in the Senate GOP tax bill: A running list

The Senate on Dec. 2 passed a Republican bill overhauling the tax code. The bill passed by a 51-49 vote.

Republicans in the Senate just passed a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code, the largest change since Ronald Reagan’s presidency. The bill zipped through the process in a mere three weeks (you can get a quick rundown of what’s in the bill here). It’s still not a totally done deal though, as substantial differences between the House and Senate bills need to be ironed out before President Trump can sign the final piece of legislation into law. But there’s little doubt this is a major victory for Trump.

Here’s a rundown of the winners and losers so far (you can read the entire 479 page document here):

Winners

President Trump. He promised a “big, beautiful” tax cut by Christmas. It’s the centerpiece of his “MAGA-nomics” agenda, and he looks likely to get it (at least by early 2018). Both the House and the Senate have cleared major hurdles. In fact, it might even end up being a tax cut AND a repeal of the individual health care mandate, one of the least popular Affordable Care Act provisions. Most economists also expect the bill will juice economic growth, at least for the next year or two. The economy has been growing around 3 percent for the past two quarters. If it jumps to 4 percent (or more) in coming quarters, Trump can claim an even bigger victory heading into the 2018 mid-term elections and the 2020 presidential election.

Big corporations. America’s largest companies are about to get the biggest tax cut ever. The House and Senate bills slash the top corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. While few corporations actually pay 35 percent (the average is around 25 percent), most still get a break. Really profitable companies like Apple and Microsoft also get to bring back the piles of cash they have sitting in offshore accounts to the United States at a very low tax rate (14.5 percent in the Senate bill). There are other goodies in the bill for businesses as well, such as the ability to fully deduct the cost of new investments for the next five years. But perhaps the biggest win of all for big business is a change from a worldwide tax system where businesses have to report income earned globally to the IRS to a territorial system where they mainly pay taxes only on what was generated in the United States.

People with money in the stock market. The Dow surged above 24,000 for the first time this week. The stock market is up over 600 points (nearly 3 percent) just this week as investors cheer the tax cuts getting closer to reality. If Trump is able to sign the bill, investors are likely to get a very good deal. Many companies plan to bring cash home from abroad and give a lot of that money to investors in the form of higher dividends and stock buybacks (which increase stock prices). Overall, tax cuts mean larger profits for businesses, which means more money in the pockets of investors.

Many in the middle class (at least for awhile). Republicans have sold the tax plan as a boost to middle class paychecks. According to the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation, 80 percent of Americansearning $50,000 to $75,000 would get a sizable reduction in their taxes by 2019 (the average cut would be about $850, according to the Tax Policy Center). Overall, about 62 percent of Americans would pay at least $100 less in taxes in 2019. But the tax cuts for families don’t last forever. The Senate bill has the lower rates for individuals going away after 2025. Republicans argue a future Congress is likely to extend the cuts, but there is no guarantee that will happen.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ken.). He did it on taxes. The Senate Majority Leader took a huge blow over the summer when the Affordable Care Act repeal failed. Trump appeared to give him the cold shoulder for awhile, but McConnell is the man of the hour now. He managed to rally GOP senators to deliver the biggest priority of all: tax cuts. It turned out to be a surprisingly difficult task with many senators demanding last-minute changes, but McConnell got 51 votes in the end.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.). The Pennsylvania senator was one of the main authors of the Senate tax bill and he defended it vigorously on the floor of the U.S. Senate. As Democrat after Democrat slammed the bill, Toomey calmly stood up and sold the bill as a way to make American companies more competitive and profitable so they will invest more in the United States and hire more workers, hopefully raising wages as well. Toomey played an especially large role in crafting the tax changes for small and large businesses, a very complex tax.

Rich kids. The GOP tax bills make it a lot easier for wealthy parents to pass property and money to their kids. Under current law, up to $5.5 million can be passed down tax-free. After that, there’s a 40 percent tax, known as the “estate tax” (or the “death tax” by critics). The House bill eliminates the estate tax entirely. The Senate bill allows rich parents to pass up to $11 million onto their heirs tax free.

Maybe Dreamers? Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) says he is voting for the tax bill despite his concerns about what it would do to the national debt because GOP leaders promised him they would pass legislation soon to allow “Dreamers” (young people in the country without documentation who have gone to school in the United States and followed the law) to stay.

Losers

Senate Democrats/Filibustering. Democrats panned the bill as a “tax scam” that gives away a ton to the wealthy and corporations, but they were not able to stop the bill. Republicans were able to pass this massive legislation with just 51 votes. Normally it would take 60 votes, but Republicans side-stepped any trouble from Democrats by using a clever tactic known as reconciliation where they are allowed to tack one major bill a year onto the budget and pass it with a simple majority vote (Vice President Mike Pence was on hand to break a tie — we know how he was ready to vote).

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) He made a brave last stand Thursday night to try to force Republicans to change the bill so it wouldn’t add so much to the deficit. He was upset to learn that even after accounting for economic growth, the bill is still expected to cost $1 trillion. That was too much, Corker said, but in the end, his Republican colleagues had enough votes without him. Corker has already said he’s retiring from the Senate after his term expires after the 2018 election. It could be lonely for him in the Senate lunch room for awhile.

People who care about the debt. For years, many Republicans have railed against America’s growing debt that ballooned under President George W. Bush and then President Barack Obama because of wars, tax cuts and the Great Recession. The total debt is now $20 trillion (about $15 trillion is actually held by the public). The tax bill is likely to add at least $1 trillion more, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the official scorekeepers in Congress. In other words, all signs indicate the debt will continue to get worse in the coming years.

The 13 million Americans who won’t have health insurance. The Senate bill isn’t just a tax bill, it also includes the repeal of the individual mandate that requires all Americans to buy health insurance or else pay a penalty. This provision is not in the House bill, so it might not make it to the president’s desk, but if it does, it’s expected to cause a spike in health insurance premiums in the United States and 13 million Americans to drop insurance coverage in the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The poor. The Senate bill cuts tax rates across all income levels, but 44 percent of Americans don’t pay any federal income tax, so it doesn’t help them. Some senators — notably Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) — pushed to give more money back to lower-income families in the form of refundable tax credits. Rubio and Lee wanted to make a lot of the Child Tax Credit refundable. But that didn’t happen, meaning the poor won’t get much benefit from the bill. If anything, they might lose a lot — some won’t be able to afford health insurance anymore and some are likely to lose other government benefits as Republicans look for ways to trim the federal budget in the coming months.

Puerto Rico. The island that was devastated by Hurricane Maria this fall now might lose some of the few big businesses that remain on the island if the GOP tax bill gets enacted. The reason is that Puerto Rico would no longer look so advantageous as a place to do business compared to the rest of the United States. Puerto Rico’s governor is trying to push for the island to be deemed a “free trade zone,” but that was not included in the legislation released before passage.

Harvard. The House and Senate bills create a new 1.4 percent tax on private college endowments worth over $500,000 per student. Only a handful of universities have such large endowments. Most are Ivy League schools like Harvard.

Maybe losers (depends on conference committee)

College students. The House bill scraps many popular deductions for college students and college grads with student loans. The House bill eliminates the popular student loan debt write off, and it forces graduate students who receive tuition waivers (sometimes as much as $20,000 or more) to count that money as income for tax purposes, even though they don’t actually receive money in their pockets. It would be a big hit and many universities are saying it could heavily dissuade graduate study. The Senate bill does not make these changes.

Elderly with high medical expenses. The House bill gets rid of the deduction for huge medical expenses, which 8.8 million Americans (mostly elderly) currently use. The Senate keeps this deduction in place, setting up a major conflict to be worked out.  Source

Dec 2, 2017
huffingtonpost.com
Senate Passes Massive Tax Cuts For The Rich In Middle Of The Night
Wasn’t this supposed to be for the middle class?

TOM WILLIAMS VIA GETTY IMAGES
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) talks to reporters Friday, several hours before the early Saturday vote.

WASHINGTON ― When Donald Trump was elected president last year, a sweeping rewrite of the tax code was one of his top priorities.

Throughout the campaign, Trump said he wanted a “middle-class tax cut,” one that wouldn’t benefit wealthy people like him and would spur huge levels of economic growth while not adding to the national debt. “For the hedge fund guys, they’re going to be paying up,” Trump promised in September 2015.

As president, Trump has continued to insist the tax code overhaul won’t be good for himself or other millionaires. “This is going to cost me a fortune, this thing ― believe me,” Trump said this week.

But the big winners in the GOP bill that the Senate passed early Saturday morning are corporations and the wealthy. Trump himself ― a self-proclaimed billionaire ― stands to gain millions through the elimination of certain taxes (though we don’t know exactly how much because Trump won’t release his tax returns). Far from being a middle-class tax cut, the measure is a massive corporate giveaway, a bill that recycles decades of Republican ideology on trickle-down economics and trusts that executives will hand over their new gains to average-income workers.

“If my friends here want to give a tax cut to the middle class,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) asked on the Senate floor Thursday, “why don’t we give a tax cut to the middle class?” His argument had no effect.

After months of negotiations, the Senate passed the proposal, 51-49, with just one Republican ― Bob Corker of Tennessee ― joining all Democrats in opposition. Corker took issue with how much debt the bill would produce, and after the Senate parliamentarian struck down Corker’s debt-control proposal, GOP leaders invited the retiring Republican to just vote no rather than finding him an accommodation.

With the bill finally through the Senate ― the House passed its tax bill two weeks earlier ― the two chambers still have to work out their legislative differences in a conference committee before the tax rewrite becomes law. There’s a slim chance the House could adopt the Senate bill and send it to the president’s desk, but it’s more likely that negotiators will merge the two versions. Both chambers need to pass the same measure for the bill to become law.

For most Americans, the legislation is still indeed ― at least in the short term ― a tax cut. Those cuts are due in large part to Republicans approving $1.5 trillion in added debt over the next 10 years. But of that pie, the wealthy disproportionately benefit, and some households could wind up with higher tax bills. The richest 20 percent of households reap 90 percent of the benefit of the tax cuts over that time period, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Still, in the short term, it’s difficult to say exactly whose taxes go up and whose go down. Tax burdens depend on what deductions individual filers claim, and this bill is a complicated tax code rewrite ― one that analysts say will have limited impact on the economy, will cost the nation more than a trillion dollars over the next 10 years, and will do much more for rich investors than it will the middle class.

Despite all that, despite poll after poll showing the measure is unpopular, most Republicans were ecstatic to pass the bill.

While the bill took months to draft, the final package came together over a frenetic last few days. Republicans didn’t even have finished legislative text until Friday night, hours before the vote, and Democrats slammed their GOP colleagues for rushing through a bill that was cobbled together with handwritten changes and crossed-out pages at the last minute.

Those procedural concerns did nothing to slow the bill, however, with Republicans falling in line to vote down a Democratic motion to adjourn Friday night. Senators then began a so-called vote-a-rama, in which amendments get up-or-down approval one after the other until lawmakers are exhausted enough to stop. Eventually, in the early hours of Saturday morning, senators moved to a final vote on the reconciliation bill, and it passed.

To get the bill over the 50-vote threshold for reconciliation legislation, GOP leaders cut deals this week on how much certain businesses could deduct off the top of their tax bills, as well as on what would be included in an upcoming government funding measure.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), for example, demanded that year-end spending legislation include funding for Obamacare subsidies that the Trump administration has targeted. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said he got assurances on a contentious immigration program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, though Trump administration officials said Flake only got assurances on being part of the conversation.

Overall, the legislation would cut the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent, which all along has been the GOP’s priority all along. Republicans say this dramatic reduction will unleash the economy and raise wages by making big businesses more internationally competitive ― claims that are dubious according to corporate executives themselves, who say they will throw the money at shareholders instead of workers.

In addition to reducing corporate and individual tax rates across the board, the bill would simplify the tax code by getting rid of most deductions, which businesses and individuals use to reduce the amount of their income subject to taxation.

Because Congress over the years has added write-offs in order to encourage and subsidize certain endeavors ― such as homeownership and higher education ― the mass elimination of these tax preferences could have wide-ranging effects that are incidental to the overall Republican goal of encouraging business investment.

Axing deductions for state and local taxes, for instance, while increasing the value of a fixed “standard deduction,” would result in far fewer households finding it worthwhile to deduct the amount they spend on mortgage interest. A study commission by the National Association of Realtors earlier this year said the proposal would reduce home values by 10 percent (which could be a good thing for people who don’t already own homes). Republicans have long championed homeownership but have been undeterred by a lobbying blitz from the real estate industry.

While fewer deductions makes for a simpler tax code, the bill would also create a complicated new deduction for certain businesses that aren’t taxed as corporations. Determining which firms have the kind of “qualified business income” eligible for the deduction will require many pages of new IRS regulation, though the bill explicitly excludes high-income service providers like accountants, lawyers and investment managers.

In the day before the final vote, Republicans increased the value of the deduction to win over Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.), both of whom had previously withheld support because they felt the legislation disproportionately benefited firms that pay the corporate tax.

And in a catchall ”manager’s amendment″ adopted just before the bill passed, Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) added a provision to allow publicly traded partnerships to claim the new deduction. Victor Fleischer, a tax professor at the University of San Diego School of law, said on Twitter that the Cornyn amendment would specifically benefit private equity firms like the Blackstone Group and the Carlyle Group. A Cornyn spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We should all re-read ‘Why Nations Fail’ after this tax bill passes,” Fleischer said.

Another provision in the manager’s amendment, inserted by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), would exempt schools that don’t take federal funds, such as the conservative Hillsdale College in Michigan, from a new tax on college and university endowments. The measure seems designed less to raise money than to poke educated liberals in the eye. Toomey’s office also did not respond to a request for comment.

To keep the cost of the bill beneath $1.5 trillion ― an arbitrary level Republicans set for themselves in a budget process earlier this year ― almost all of the tax cuts for individuals expire at the end of 2025. Republicans say that expiration won’t happen, noting that even President Barack Obama made nearly all of the Bush tax cuts permanent when they were up for reauthorization.

But for all the GOP bluster about this bill being a tax cut for the middle class, and for all the rhetoric about the false necessity of making tax cuts permanent, the bill would keep the corporate tax rates the same while putting the individual rates up for expiration. Because of those temporary cuts, the Joint Committee on Taxation, which scores tax legislation for Congress, found that most households earning less than $75,000 annually would pay higher taxes 10 years from now.

Just before debate began Friday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on the Senate floor that this day would be remembered as one of the “great robberies in U.S. history.”
Source

Dec 2, 2017
Business Insider
SENATE PASSES REPUBLICAN TAX BILL IN HUGE WIN FOR TRUMP, GOP

  • The Senate passed the Republican tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, early Saturday morning.
  • The TCJA passed by a vote of 51-49, with Sen. Bob Corker being the only Republican to vote against it.
  • The bill can either be passed as is by the House — or the two chambers will go to a conference committee.

The Senate passed the Republican tax reform bill early Saturday in a massive win for the party and President Donald Trump, who has seen many of his agenda items stall in the legislature during his first year in office.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed on a vote of 51 to 49. Sen. Bob Corker was the only Republican to vote against the bill, which, among other things, proposes to cut the corporate rate to 20% while changing individual tax brackets and significantly undercutting portions of the Affordable Care Act. Its passage brings Republicans a step closer to their first major legislative achievement in the Trump presidency.

The vote came just three weeks after Republicans introduced the original version. It came just hours after the text of the final version of the bill was released. GOP leaders moved the bill through the chamber at breakneck speed as they attempt to send legislation to Trump’s desk by Christmas.

“You complain about process when you’re losing,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said of Democratic objections. “And that’s what you heard on the floor tonight.”

McConnell and Republican leaders won over a slew of skeptical Republican members in recent days to pass the bill. On Monday, as many as 10 GOP lawmakers were on the fence or against it, but significant last-minute changes were enough to ensure their support.

The changes forced the debate to stretch for hours, as Republicans released a final version of their bill with adjustments scribbled in the margins of the text.

The last-minute adjustments and final passage overcame a steady trickle of rough analyses of the bill. While Republican leaders and Trump administration officials promised as recently as three weeks ago that the bill would pay for itself with economic growth, the analyses have been universal: They have shown that the bill would add roughly $1 trillion or more to the federal deficit over 10 years, even when accounting for the growth.

The reports from various organizations, as well as the official government scorekeeper, the Joint Committee on Taxation, showed the Senate TCJA would produce only a modest boost to the US economy that would fade over time. They also found that while most would see a tax cut in the initial years of the legislation, many would see little change or an increase over time.

What comes next

Since the Senate TCJA is different from the House version of the bill, the legislation must either go to a conference committee — where members from both chambers unify the differing aspects — or the House could pass the Senate bill as it is.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, applauding the Senate’s passage of the bill, said the two chambers would move “quickly” to a conference committee.

Following the passage of the bill, members on both sides of the aisle reacted swiftly. Republicans celebrated the step forward, saying that the bill will help to reinvigorate the US economy.

“This is a big moment for American families and small businesses ready to turn the page on an Obama-era recovery that has been far too sluggish,” GOP Sen. John Cornyn, the second-highest ranking Republican, said in a statement. “Simplifying our nation’s tax code is the jump start our economy needs to bring jobs back and leave more money in the pockets of hardworking Texans.”

On the other hand, Democrats decried changes to the Affordable Care Act and cuts for corporations.

“I offered to work with the President and Republicans, and I introduced multiple amendments that could have put real money in the pockets of Ohioans,” Sen. Sherrod Brown said in a statement. “Instead Washington chose to cut taxes for corporations that send American jobs overseas, blow a hole in the deficit, and pay for it by cutting Medicare and kicking people off their health insurance.”
Source

SEE ALSO: A brutal new analysis shows the GOP tax bill would do little for US economic growth

 

Dec 2, 2017
Business Insider
Senate passes tax bill in massive step forward — here’s how it all went down

  • The Senate voted to pass the massive Republican tax bill early Saturday morning.
  • The bill proposes huge changes to business and individual taxes.
  • It passed 51 to 49, with one Republican voting against it.

Senate Republicans early Saturday morning passed their massive proposed overhaul to the tax code after GOP leaders scrambled Friday to make last-minute changes to their bill, a complete version of which emerged only late in the evening.

The bill passed the chamber, 51 to 49, with Republican Bob Corker voting against it.

Throughout the process, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempted to appease deficit hawks, moderates, and members concerned about small business, all while keeping the TCJA within Senate rules.

The last-minute changes continued into Friday evening. The vote came just three weeks after the bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), was introduced.

As the night rolled on, we followed the debate live. Below is a recap of what you missed

1:51 a.m.: The bill passes, 51 to 49.

The vote was 51 to 49.

All Republicans but Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee voted for it.

All Democrats voted against.

10:07: Time for amendment votes.

McConnell proceeded to votes on amendments. We’ll updated as votes are taken:

  • Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) introduced a motion to send the bill back to Finance Committee. The vote failed 38 to 61.
  • Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) introduced an amendment to reinstate the alternative minimum tax, increase the top individual tax rate, makes the individual tax changes permanent. The amendment failed 34-66.
  • Ted Cruz introduced an amendment to allow funds from 529 college savings accounts to be used towards tuition for K-12 school. The amendment was adopted after Vice President Pence broke a 50-50 tie.
  • Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) introduced a motion to send the bill back to the Finance Committee with instructions to add the state and local deduction back to the bill. The motion failed 48-52.
  • Marco Rubio (R-Florida) introduced an amendment that that would make the child tax credit more generous, paid for by cutting the corporate rate to 20.94% instead of the 20% proposed in the TCJA. This also failed 29-71.
  • Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced an amendment that would have increased the size of the child tax credit permanently. It failed 48-52.
  • Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) introduced an amendment that was a point of order to try and force a 67-vote threshold for future bills that cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The amendment failed 46-54.

12:08: Pence breaks a tie on an amendment from Ted Cruz to expand 529 school savings accounts.

The amendment, which was agreed to after Vice President Pence broke a 50-50 tie, would allow people to use 529 savings accounts for K-12 tuition and not just college.

Democrats said the change is a backdoor way to drive people toward private school instead of public schools.

This is also the first time Pence has been needed for a vote.

11:50: The Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the newest TCJA’s budget impact.

The CBO determined that the final version of the Senate bill would add $1.4478 trillion to the deficit over 10 years, just squeezing under the $1.5 trillion limit allowed under Senate rules.

9:30: Chuck Schumer makes a motion to suspend debate.

9:30: Chuck Schumer makes a motion to suspend debate.

Chuck Schumer.Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made a motion to recess the Senate until Monday and delay the vote until the Democrats can read the new changes to the bill.

“Historians will mark today as one of the darkest black letter days in the long history of this senate,” Schumer said before making the motion.

The motion failed 48 to 52. The vote was along party lines.

9:20 pm: Democrats slam change to bill that appears to only help a single, conservative college.

Democrats slammed a new provision in the updated TCJA that exempts any college or university that declines federal funding under Title IV from a new 1.4% excise tax on large university endowments.

According to Democrats, this provision would only benefit Hillsdale College, a conservative Michigan school.

Read more here»

8:37 pm: Marco Rubio makes a final pitch for his change to the child tax credit.

Sen. Marco Rubio took to the Senate floor to make the case for his amendment that would make the child tax credit refundable up to the amount of payroll taxes, making the credit more generous.

To pay for the change, Rubio wants to cut the corporate rate to 20.94% instead of the 20% proposed in the Republican bill. The TCJA already proposes to increase the credit to $2,000 from $1,000 under current law.

There was a possibility that Democrats could support the amendment, also backed by GOP Sen. Mike Lee. But Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown later said on the floor that bipartisan talks broke down because the Rubio amendment would only be temporary.

6:45: Senate Democrats finally got the bill from the GOP, but its covered in handwritten notes.

6:45: Senate Democrats finally got the bill from the GOP, but its covered in handwritten notes.

Bob Bryan/Business Insider

In a sample provided to Business Insider, the final version of the bill has numerous handwritten notes in the margin of pages. A few pages were even crossed out with a pen.

Democratic lawmakers are complaining about what they say is unreadable handwriting on Twitter.

“Trying to review the #GOPTaxScam but they are making hand-written changes to brand new text as we speak – can anyone else read this?” Sen. Dick Durbin tweeted.

6:00: An amendment to the tax bill could give big breaks to large partnership firms.

An amendment introduced by Sen. John Cornyn would allow publicly traded partnerships (PTPs) to take the pass-through business deduction. According to Victor Fleischer, a tax-law professor at the University of San Diego, this could apply to some private equity firms but an aide to Cornyn denied that this would benefit those firms.

While its unclear the treatment for financial firms, energy master limited partnerships could be able to take the deduction. Many MLPs are based in Cornyn’s home state of Texas.

Read more about the amendment here»

5 p.m.: Bob Corker will vote against the bill

5 p.m.: Bob Corker will vote against the bill

Bob Corker.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Corker, who has long held concerns about the deficit impact of the bill, said he would vote against it. He is so far the only Republican senator to come out against the bill.

“This is yet another tough vote. I am disappointed,” Corker said in a statement. “I wanted to get to yes. But at the end of the day, I am not able to cast aside my fiscal concerns and vote for legislation that I believe, based on the information I currently have, could deepen the debt burden on future generations.”

4 p.m.: Susan Collins officially announces she will vote for the bill

Collins said she secured key changes to the bill — including adjustments to the medical expense deduction and the state and local tax deduction.

“Having secured these key improvements in the bill, as well as the commitments to legislation to help lower health insurance premiums, I will cast my vote in support of the Senate tax reform bill,” Collins said in a statement. “As revised, this bill will provide much-needed tax relief and simplification for lower- and middle-income families, while spurring the creation of good jobs and greater economic growth.”

3 p.m.: Sen. Claire McCaskill tweets a list of possible GOP amendments that she got from a lobbyist.

McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, tweeted a picture that she said was sent to her by a lobbyist. The list shows a series of amendment from Republicans that are set to be considered and possibly added to the tax bill.

“This is so bad. We have just gotten list of amendments to be included in bill NOT from our R colleagues, but from lobbyists downtown,” McCaskill said in the tweet. “None of us have seen this list, but lobbyists have it. Need I say more? Disgusting. And we probably will not even be given time to read them.”

Check out the list here»

 

2 p.m.: Susan Collins tweets on the bill’s treatment of medical expenses, state and local tax, and retirement contributions that got her to “yes.”

2 p.m.: Susan Collins tweets on the bill's treatment of medical expenses, state and local tax, and retirement contributions that got her to "yes."

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Sen. Susan Collins laid out the details of the changes that got her to support the TCJA. They are:

  • Allowing people to deduct state and local property taxes up to $10,000. The original Senate bill repealed the state and local tax deduction completely. Despite the compromise, people living in high-tax states like New York and California will likely get hit by the loss of the deduction.
  • Lowering the threshold at which people can deduct medical expenses. Currently, people can deduct medical expenses if they take up more than 10% of their income.
  • Eliminating a change in the TCJA that would have complicated “catch up” contributions to retirement accounts for “for church, charity, school, & public employees.”

1:40: The Senate bill will reportedly keep the alternative minimum tax.

The alternative minimum tax (AMT), a separate tax structure designed to ensure that wealthier Americans don’t take massive deductions that help them avoid all taxes, is expected to remain in the Senate bill after last-minute wrangling.

The bill would reportedly increase the threshold at which people must use the AMT.

This could be helpful as a pay-for for changes like Collins’ partial state and local tax deduction preservation.

12:30: Susan Collins says her compromise on the state and local tax deduction will be in the final bill.

Collins’ change would allow people to deduct up to $10,000 of state and local property taxes from their federal bill. Current law allows people to deduct all of their state and local property, income, and sales taxes and the original Senate TCJA would have repealed that completely.

This could make it easier for the Senate and House to reconcile their bills, since Collins’ change is exactly the same as the House plan. The deduction is generally a bigger political lift in the House, since there are Republican members from areas like New York and California where state and local taxes are higher.

12:05: Jeff Flake, one of the last Republicans holdouts, is a “yes” on the bill.

12:05: Jeff Flake, one of the last Republicans holdouts, is a "yes" on the bill.

AP

Flake, who had raised concerns about the bill’s impact on the deficit, said in a statement that he would vote for the TCJA.

Flake said he was trying to get two things out of the tax bill: to “eliminate the $85 billion expensing budget gimmick” and a promise from GOP leaders to work with him on a bill to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“Having secured both of those objectives, I am pleased to announce I will vote in support the tax reform bill,” Flake said.

12:00 pm: McConnell tells reporters “we have the votes”

Republicans seem pretty confident that they have the 50 votes necessary to pass the TCJA.

Sen. Ted Cruz told reporters it is “likely we will pass this bill later today.”

11:30 am: The Tax Policy Center says the economic boost from the bill is much less than Republicans promised.

A new analysis from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center shows that the TCJA would only boost US GDP by 0.7% in 2018. This falls far short of the amount needed for the bill to “pay for itself” as Republican leaders and Trump officials promised.

In fact, the TPC said that even with the additional revenue created from the economic boost the bill would rack up $1.23 trillion in new debt.

Read more on the TPC report»

10:55 am: GOP leaders think the bill will pass, but Susan Collins pumps the breaks.

10:55 am: GOP leaders think the bill will pass, but Susan Collins pumps the breaks.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate GOP Whip John Cornyn told reporters that the leadership is feeling pretty good about the tax bill’s prospects.

“We have at least 50 and we’re still working,” he told reporters before a meeting of the Republican conference.

For Cornyn’s predictions to be the case, Republican leaders need to have Sen. Susan Collins on board but she cautioned against making assumptions.

“I don’t know how Senator Cornyn can speak for me, I speak for myself,” Collins told reporters but said they were making “good progress on the bill.”

Debate begins and a quick recap

Debate begins and a quick recap

Jeff FlakeChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Debate on the tax bill is expected to lead off with statements from the party leaders. The first amendment votes are scheduled for 11 a.m. ET.

The Senate will resume the drama that was suspended on Thursday, when GOP leaders called it a night to try and figure out the last-minute changes to their bill.

A final vote was possible Thursday night, but Republican leaders hit a snag when the Joint Committee on Taxation — the official congressional scorekeeper — released an analysis that showed the bill would only increase GDP 0.8% over 10 years.

The analysis also showed the bill would grow the federal deficit by $1 trillion over that timeframe even when accounting for that growth.

The analysis renewed concerns from Sens. Bob Corker and Jeff Flake about the legislation’s potential effect on the deficit.

The pair’s idea of a trigger that would increase federal revenue was ruled impermissible by the Senate parliamentarian, a kind of umpire for Senate rules, sending Republican leaders back to the drawing board.

McConnell and leadership got a boost when Sens. Ron Johnson and Steve Daines, who had been on the fence, said on Friday that they would support the bill. Johnson told Wisconsin radio station WISN that his support gave Republicans enough votes to pass the bill even without Corker and Flake.

Check here for a full recap of Thursday night’s action»

Politics: Here’s who Mitch McConnell needs to win over

Politics: Here's who Mitch McConnell needs to win over

Bob CorkerChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

While it appears that McConnell may have already secured the necessary 50 votes (with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie) with the addition of Johnson and Daines, here are some GOP senators on the fence.

  • Bob Corker and Jeff Flake: The most unlikely votes for McConnell to get. These two are worried about the impact of the bill on the federal deficit. They had proposed a “trigger” to increase taxes if the bill did not deliver economic growth. After the Senate parliamentarian ruled that provision ineligible, Corker said he wanted more than $350 billion in additional revenue in the bill.
  • Susan Collins: Collins introduced a slew of amendments ,including one that would reinstate part of the state and local tax deduction, that she said would need to be added to win over her support. She also wants the Alexander-Murray Obamacare stabilization passed along with the tax bill.
  • Marco Rubio and Mike Lee: The pair introduced an amendment that would raise the corporate tax rate to 22% in order to make the child tax credit more generous. It is unclear if the pair would vote for the bill without the amendment.
  • Ron Johnson and Steve Daines: Originally, it appeared that they were accepting of a 20% pass-through deduction rate — then they needed 23%. Who’s to say they may not ask for more?

Process: Here’s what’s on tap

Process: Here's what's on tap

Orrin Hatch and Mitch McConnellAlex Wong/Getty Images

The bill is required to go through 20 hours of debate, split evenly between Republicans and Democrats.

As debate starts on Friday, there is roughly seven hours of debate left. After debate concludes, the Senate will have what is known as a vote-a-rama in which members will consider a slew of amendments in succession.

If senators use the full allotted time for debate, that would push the vote-a-rama to around 5 or 6 p.m ET. Republican can also choose to forgo their time, which would move the vote-a-rama up to about 2 p.m. ET if Democrats decide to use all of their debate time.

After the vote-a-rama, McConnell would submit the text of the finished bill as a substitute amendment, replacing the original bill text, and the final vote would take place.

9:50: Senate rules trip out some provisions of the tax bill.

According to Richard Rubin at the Wall Street Journal, three pieces of the bill were pulled out due to a violation of the Byrd rule. The rule mandates that all legislation going through budget reconciliation, such as the TCJA, must impact the budget.

The three pieces that were reportedly removed are:

  • A provision that would have allowed parents to set up 529 college savings accounts for unborn children.
  • A new tax on some foreign airlines such as Qatar Airways and Emirates Airline.
  • A provisions that would have supplied tax relief to victims of flooding disasters.
    Source

Nov 30, 2017
money.cnn.com
Here’s what’s in the Senate Republican tax bill

Senate Republicans have put themselves under the gun to vote on a tax bill this week.

The Senate’s tax-writing committee passed the bill before Thanksgiving. It’s already been amended a few times since it was first introduced, and there may be more changes to come this week.

The Senate bill differs in key ways from the tax reform bill passed by the House earlier this month, and eventually the bills’ differences must be reconciled.

Related: Senate bill adds $1 trillion to deficits, even with growth

Broadly, all income groups under the Senate bill would see their after-tax incomes rise on average in the first few years. But the benefits for middle- and low-income groups diminish or disappear afterward — meaning the groups’ after-tax incomes would drop on average — due to their tax cuts expiring after 2025, the bill’s use of slower inflation adjustments in the tax code and the repeal of the mandate to buy health insurance.

Here are some notable provisions in the Senate bill that would affect taxes on individuals and businesses.

FOR INDIVIDUALS

Changes individual income tax brackets: There are seven brackets in today’s individual tax code: 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%, and 39.6%.

The Senate bill also calls for seven brackets but changes the rates on taxable income to:

10% (income up to $9,525 for individuals; $19,050 for married couples filing jointly)

12% (over $9,525 to $38,700; over $19,050 to $77,400 for couples)

22% (over $38,700 to $70,000; over $77,400 to $140,000 for couples)

24% (over $70,000 to $160,000; over $140,000 to $320,000 for couples)

32% (over $160,000 to $200,000; over $320,000 to $400,000 for couples)

35% (over $200,000 to $500,000; over $400,000 to $1 million for couples)

38.5% (over $500,000; over $1 million for couples)

The House bill, by contrast, only calls for four brackets: 12%, 25%, 35% and 39.6%.

Nearly doubles the standard deduction: Like the House bill, Senate Republicans would significantly raise today’s standard deduction. In the Senate bill, the deduction for singles increases to $12,000 from $6,350 currently; and it raises it for married couples filing jointly to $24,000 from $12,700.

That would drastically reduce the number of people who opt to itemize their deductions, since the only reason to do so is if your individual deductions combined exceed the standard deduction amount.

Eliminates personal exemptions: Today you’re allowed to claim a $4,050 personal exemption for yourself, your spouse and each of your dependents. Both the Senate and House bills eliminate that option.

For families with three or more kids, that could mute if not negate any tax relief they might enjoy as a result of other provisions in the bill.

Fully repeal state and local tax deduction: The Senate bill would no longer let individual filers deduct their property taxes or their state and local income or sales taxes.

Eliminating the state and local tax deduction was met with strong opposition from House lawmakers in high-tax states and cities. So a concession was made in the House Republicans bill to restore an itemized deduction for property taxes up to $10,000.

If and when the time comes for the House and Senate to reconcile the differences between each chamber’s passed bills, the SALT deduction could be a huge sticking point.

Expands the child tax credit: The Senate GOP bill increases the child tax credit to $2,000 per child, up from $1,000 today, and above the $1,600 proposed in the House bill.

Senate GOP tax writers would make the credit available for any children under 18, up from today’s under-17 age limit.

But the $1,000 increase won’t be available to the lowest income families if they don’t end up owing federal income taxes. That’s because unlike the first $1,000, the additional $1,000 wouldn’t be refundable. When a credit is refundable, it means you still can get money from the government because of the credit, even when your federal income tax bill is zero.

The Senate bill also greatly expands who is eligible for the credit by raising the roof on the income thresholds where the credit starts to phase out: To $500,000 for married tax filers, up from $110,000 today.

Meanwhile, filers with dependents who are not qualified children may be able to claim a new $500 nonrefundable credit per dependent. Under the House bill, there would be a new $300 per person credit for parents and dependents over 17.

Keeps mortgage interest deduction as is: The Senate bill would still let you claim a deduction for the interest you pay on mortgage debt up to $1 million.

House tax writers proposed capping the loan limit at $500,000 for new mortgages.

But since the House and Senate bills nearly double the standard deduction, the percent of filers who claim the mortgage interest deduction would drop sharply.

The Senate bill does make two changes on home-related financing. It disallows interest deductions for home equity loans. And it lengthens the time you must live in a home to get the full tax-free exclusion on your gains when you sell it.

Repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax: The AMT, originally intended to ensure the richest tax filers pay at least some tax by disallowing many tax breaks, most typically hits filers making between $200,000 and $1 million today.

Those who make more than that usually find they owe more tax under the regular income tax code, so must pay that tab instead.

Tax experts often note the AMT no longer meets its original purpose and further complicates an already complex tax code. But it’s been kept on the books because it raises a lot of revenue.

Preserves the estate tax, but exempts almost everybody: Unlike the House GOP bill, Senate Republicans have not proposed repealing the estate tax.

But they are proposing to double the exemption levels — which are currently set at $5.49 million for individuals, and $10.98 million for married couples. Even at today’s levels, only 0.2% of all estates ever end up being subject to the estate tax.

Increases teacher deduction: Teachers who buy their own supplies for the classroom may deduct up to $250 today. The Senate bill doubles that amount to $500.

The House bill, by contrast, eliminates the deduction.

Repeals the individual mandate to buy health insurance: The repeal is intended as a way to offset the cost of the tax bill. It is estimated to save money because it would reduce how much the federal government spends on insurance subsidies, since the assumption is fewer people who qualify for subsidies would purchase insurance if they’re not subject to a penalty.

But policy experts also note it could raise premiums because more healthy people might decide to skip buying insurance.

FOR BUSINESSES

Cut the corporate rate … in a year: Like the House bill, the Senate bill would cut the corporate tax rate to 20% from 35% today. But the 20% rate would not take effect until 2019 under the Senate proposal. The delay would reduce the cost of the measure in the first 10 years.

Make expensing rules more generous: Senate Republicans want to make it possible for businesses to immediately and fully expense new equipment, for at least five years, similar to a provision in the House bill.

Lower taxes on pass-through business income: Most U.S. businesses are set up as pass-throughs, not corporations. That means their profits are passed through to the owners, shareholders and partners, who pay tax on them on their personal returns under ordinary income tax rates.

The House bill simply dropped the top income tax rate on pass-through income to 25% from 39.6%, while prohibiting anyone providing professional services (e.g., lawyers and accountants) from taking advantage of the lower pass-through rate.

But the Senate bill would let most pass-throughs deduct 17.4% of their income.

The 17.4% deduction would be prohibited for anyone in a service business — except those with taxable incomes under $500,000 if married ($250,000 if single).

Prevent abuse of pass-through tax break: If the owner or partner in a pass-through also draws a salary from the business, that money would be subject to ordinary income tax rates.

But to prevent people from recharacterizing their wage income as business profits to get the benefit of the pass-through deduction, the Senate bill would automatically limit the deduction to half of the W-2 wages of the pass-through entity or its share to the individual taxpayer. The W-2 rule would not apply, however, if the filer’s taxable income is under $500,000 if married, $250,000 if single.

Change how U.S. multinationals are taxed: Today U.S. companies owe Uncle Sam tax on all their profits, regardless of where the income is earned. They’re allowed to defer paying U.S. tax on their foreign profits until they bring the money home.

Many argue that this “worldwide” tax system puts American businesses at a disadvantage. That’s because most foreign competitors come from countries with territorial tax systems, meaning they don’t owe tax to their own governments on income they make offshore.

The Senate bill proposes changes to move the U.S. to a territorial system. It also includes a number of anti-abuse provisions to prevent corporations with foreign profits from gaming the system.

And it would require companies to pay a one-time low tax rate on their existing overseas profits — 10% on cash assets and 5% on non-cash assets (e.g., equipment abroad in which profits were invested). Those are below the 14% and 7% repatriation rates called for in the amended House bill.  Source

Nov 29, 2017
bigislandvideonews
VIDEO: Hawaii Senators Take On GOP Tax Reform Proposal

(BIVN) – The talk on Capitol Hill is tax reform, as the GOP moves forward with a new plan in the U.S. Senate.

House Republicans have already pushed through their own version of a tax bill.

President Donald Trump wants to see the legislation come to his desk. But Democrats are sounding the alarm, saying the proposed cuts will favor the wealthy over the middle class.

On the front lines of the debate are Hawaii’s congressional delegation. Senator Brian Schatz opened a U.S. Senate Democrat video, live streamed Monday on Facebook, opposing the tax bill.

Senator Mazie Hirono stood alongside Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, to highlight just how devastating she says the proposed tax bill would be for working families across the country.

A little further down the road is the looming threat of a government shut down, if federal lawmakers cannot come to the table for a deal.  Source

Nov 20, 2017
pennlive.com
White House open to striking health provision from tax bill

In this Thursday, July 20, 2017, file photo, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney gestures as he speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington. Mulvaney and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sent mixed signals Sunday, Nov. 19, on the fate of a health care provision in the Senate version of a $1.5 trillion measure to overhaul business and personal income taxes that is expected to be voted on after Thanksgiving. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON — The White House says it’s willing to strike a health-care provision from Senate legislation to cut taxes and overhaul the tax code if the provision becomes an impediment to passing one of President Donald Trump’s top legislative priorities.

The provision would repeal a requirement that everyone in the U.S. have health insurance or pay a fine, but has emerged as a major sticking point for Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, whose vote the White House needs. Collins said Sunday that the issue should be dealt with separately.

Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said the White House is open to scrapping the provision, which would repeal a key component of the Affordable Care Act health law enacted by President Barack Obama. Trump had pressed for the provision to be added to the bill, partly to show progress on the GOP goal of undoing the health care law following Congress’ failed attempts to repeal it earlier this year.

“I don’t think anybody doubts where the White House is on repealing and replacing Obamacare. We absolutely want to do it,” Mulvaney said Sunday. “If we can repeal part of Obamacare as part of a tax bill and have a tax bill that is still a good tax bill that can pass, that’s great.

“If it becomes an impediment to getting the best tax bill we can, then we’re OK with taking it out,” Mulvaney added.

Legislative director Marc Short said Sunday that the White House “is very comfortable with the House bill,” which does not include the so-called individual mandate. But Short also said the White House views the mandate as a tax and “we like the fact that the Senate has included it in its bill.”

At issue is a provision to repeal the requirement that everyone in the U.S. have health insurance or pay a fine. Eliminating the individual mandate would add an estimated $338 billion in revenue over 10 years that Senate tax-writers used for additional tax cuts.

Collins said Sunday that the tax advantage that some middle-income consumers would reap under the tax bill could be wiped out by repealing the mandate. She said they would face higher insurance premiums coupled with the loss of federal subsidies to help them afford coverage.

“The fact is that if you do pull this piece of the Affordable Care Act out, for some middle-income families, the increased premium is going to cancel out the tax cut that they would get,” Collins said.

Collins said she hasn’t decided how to vote on the bill because it will be amended before it reaches the Senate floor. But her vote is crucial in a chamber where Republicans hold a slim 52-48 advantage.

Last week, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin became the first Republican to declare opposition, saying the plan wouldn’t cut business taxes enough for partnerships and corporations. GOP Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee, John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Rand Paul of Kentucky have also expressed concerns.

Republicans can lose just two senators on the final vote, which would allow Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking 51st vote in his capacity as president of the Senate. Democrats are not expected to support the bill, as was the case when the House passed its version last week.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the mandate amounts to “an unfair tax on poor people.”

“The president thinks we should get rid of it. I think we should get rid of it,” he said, but added: “We’re going to work with the Senate as we go through this.”

Mulvaney and Collins were interviewed on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Mnuchin spoke on “Fox News Sunday.” Collins also appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” as did Short.  Source

Nov 16, 2017
fastcompany.com
Trump’s Tax Plan Throws Rare Disease Patients Under The Corporate Bus
How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act approved by the House on Thursday undermines President Trump’s promised nation of medical “miracles.”

BY SARAH HOGATE BACON

In his address to Congress last February, President Trump singled out Megan Crowley, calling her a “miracle.” A 20-year-old patient-survivor of Pompe disease, Crowley was in attendance in a wheelchair with her father, John, a former special ops commander who found the treatment for Pompe and saved the lives of Megan, her brother, and thousands of others. The rare, often fatal neuromuscular disorder weakens and debilitates children’s muscles, inflaming their hearts and livers, until heart or lung failure take them at five or six years of age. Today, however, Megan is a junior at Notre Dame.

After praising Megan, the president went on to say that cutting regulations at the FDA and beyond would accelerate the development of more life-saving treatments, and that, as a result, “our children will grow up in a nation of miracles.”

Megan’s backstory is instructive here: In 2000, John Crowley wagered everything his family had to launch a startup called Novazyme focused on developing a therapy for his two dying children. Novazyme was bought by Genzyme, which brought an enzyme therapy for Pompe to trial in 2003. While his kids’ disease had progressed irreversibly in some ways, the enzyme therapy reduced organ inflammation and stabilized them moving forward. This incredible (and now widely told) story was chronicled in The Wall Street Journal and in a book by Geeta Anand, and is the basis for the 2013 feature film, Extraordinary Measures, produced by and starring Harrison Ford.

However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by the House on Thursday abandons the possibilities described by the Crowleys’ story, and undermines Trump’s promised nation of medical miracles. A little-known proposal in the White House tax plan would cut the Orphan Drug Tax Credit (ODTC), the single largest incentive for pharmaceutical and biotech companies to invest in drug development for rare–often called “orphan”–diseases. These are the same tax incentives John Crowley and Genzyme relied on to save Megan, her brother, and the 40,000 children around the world with Pompe. It’s this tax credit that drug makers budget with to develop therapies for the rest of the 30 million Americans with rare diseases, half of whom are children, and only 5% of whom have treatments, let alone cures.

The Orphan Drug Tax Credit currently gives drug companies a 50% tax deduction on the costs of clinical research and drug testing necessary to bringing a new rare disease therapy to market. (The average total cost is approximately $2.5 billion.) A central component of the 1983 Orphan Drug Act, the ODTC was designed specifically to accelerate the development of therapies for rare diseases that had been “orphaned” by the pharmaceutical sector due to the small profit margins that came with small patient populations. Before the act passed, 10 rare therapies in total had been approved by the FDA; today, we have upwards of 500 approved therapies for rare diseases and a burgeoning U.S. biotech industry, which the ODTC and the Orphan Drug Act are largely credited with spawning.

According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), the original and primary proponent of the Orphan Drug Act, slashing the ODTC would result in 33% fewer treatments for the 1 in 10 Americans who hang all hope on new therapies. In effect, Trump and the GOP are throwing America’s sickest–most of them children–under the bus in order to get the U.S. tax rate on corporations down from 35% to 20%.

“Such a cut would particularly harm kids suffering from very rare, often fatal disorders,” Philip Reilly, a clinical geneticist and author of Orphan, among other books, told me. “Why? It would discourage investment in very small markets. I think it fair to say that over time the cut would directly contribute to the death of some children.”

Fortunately, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), a sponsor of the Orphan Drug Act and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is fighting the House’s proposed ODTC. The Senate plan, revealed last week, modifies the ODTC by limiting the research and development costs that can be deducted, and excludes credits to new orphan drugs that offer treatments for other disorders whose patients exceed the 200,000 population definition of rare diseases.

To be sure, rare patients aren’t the only community who’ve benefited from the Orphan Drug Act. The seven-year market exclusivity on “orphan designated” drugs has lead to astronomical drug pricing in some cases, which pharmaceutical companies claim is justified to cover the cost of drug development. Orphan designations are also abused: The world’s best-selling mega drug, Humira by AbbVie, has an orphan drug designation despite having applications for more common conditions like arthritis, psoriasis, and Crohn’s. However, neither cutting nor modifying the ODTC will fix the drug pricing crisis–a burden on patients and insurers alike–or stop some bad actors from gaming the system. It will, however, dramatically reduce the development of life-saving treatments for 1 in 10 Americans like myself.

Even if Trump and the House aren’t concerned about the many Americans suffering from rare diseases, they should care that cutting the ODTC undermines the job creating intent of the the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The globally renowned and innovative U.S. biotech sector, and in particular its small companies, relies on the ODTC to fund the kind of research that brings new therapies to market for the 30 million plus Americans suffering from rare diseases. And the follow-on effects of that research mean more treatments for other types of patients.

Last week, Robert K. Coughlin, President & CEO of MassBio, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based consortium of biotech executives, said the ODTC “has been instrumental in helping to finance the development of lifesaving treatments for patients with rare diseases, and any effort to dismantle it would be a major blow to patients around the world for which there is still no hope of treatment.”

The House cut would raise $54 billion in tax revenue for the government over a 10-year period starting in 2018; the Senate Finance Committee estimates $29.7 billion in revenue for its plan over the same span. The real question, however, is, what is the cost of throwing the baby out with the bathwater? (The baby here is the 50% of rare patients who are children, and the bathwater, presumably, a few bad actors abusing the Orphan Drug Act.) From a life-saving perspective, the proposed House and Senate policies will, at best, do more harm than good.

If “the biggest tax cut in history,” as the president fondly calls it, trashes the Orphan Drug Tax Credit in part to pay for the reduced corporate tax rate, Trump’s cut would be of truly historic–and inhumane and lethal–proportions.  Source


Sarah Hogate Bacon is a rare disease patient and writer, currently researching a book, Move Fast & Break Things, on rare patients and parents who have advanced science against all odds.

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Nov 19, 2017
forbes.com
GOP Tax Bill Is The End Of All Economic Sanity In Washington

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

No doubt many of you read the above headline and immediately started to tweet that the GOP tax bill can’t be the end of economic sanity in Washington because there never was any to begin with.

I have two responses.

First…please do tweet that, and link to this post when you do.

Second…you’re wrong. If it’s enacted, the GOP tax cut now working its way through Congress will be the start of a decades-long economic policy disaster unlike any other that has occurred in American history.

There’s no economic justification whatsoever for a tax cut at this time. U.S. GDP is growing, unemployment is close to 4 percent (below what is commonly considered “full employment“), corporate profits are at record levels and stock markets are soaring. It makes no sense to add any federal government-induced stimulus to all this private sector-caused economic activity, let alone a tax cut as big as this one.

This is actually the ideal time for Washington to be doing the opposite.  But by damning the economic torpedoes and moving full-speed ahead, House and Senate Republicans and the Trump White House are setting up the U.S. for the modern-day analog of the inflation-producing guns-and-butter economic policy of the Vietnam era. The GOP tax bill will increase the federal deficit by $2 trillion or more over the next decade (the official estimates of $1.5 trillion hide the real amount with a witches brew of gimmicks and outright lies) that, unless all the rules have changed, is virtually certain to result in inflation and much higher interest rates than would otherwise occur.

The GOP’s insanity is compounded by its moving ahead without having any idea of what this policy will actually do to the economy. The debates in the Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees and on the House floor all took place before the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis and, if it really exists, the constantly-promised-but-never-seen report from the Treasury on the economics of this tax bill.

Meanwhile, Congress has ignored other estimates like this one from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School showing that the tax bill won’t do what the GOP is promising.

In other words, the GOP tax bill may be enacted without anyone who votes for it having any understanding of the damage it could do to the economy. They have wishes, hopes and prayers but in reality nothing beyond the economic equivalent of pagan superstition.  Source

Nov 16, 2017
money.com
House vote on taxes: Here’s what’s in the bill Republicans just passed

House passes GOP tax bill, Senate plan unclear

House Republicans on Thursday passed a bill along strict party lines that would revamp the U.S. tax code and affect every corner of the U.S. economy.

Passage of the bill comes just two weeks after it was first unveiled by House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady.

It also comes the same week that the Senate Finance Committee is wrapping up work on its own tax overhaul bill at breakneck speed. Eventually any legislation approved by each chamber will have to be reconciled into one plan.

The House bill would mean tax cuts on average for all income groups in 2018 and most income groups in 2027, but the biggest benefits go to those at the top, according to the Tax Policy Center.

But that doesn’t mean everyone in every income group would pay less. The TPC estimates that next year about 10% of middle income filers and 20% of the highest income households would pay more. Those percentages rise to 30% for each group by 2027.

Here are some key provisions in the bill.

FOR INDIVIDUALS

Reduces income tax brackets: There are seven federal income tax brackets in today’s code that are taxed at 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35% and 39.6%.

The House bill consolidates those into four brackets:

12% (up to first $45,000 of taxable income for individuals; $90,000 for married couples filing jointly)

25% (over $45,000 to $200,000 for individuals; over $90,000 to $260,000 for married couples)

35% (over $200,000 to $500,000 for individuals; over $260,000 to $1 million for married couples)

39.6% (over $500,000 for individuals; over $1 million for married couples)

There is also a 6% surtax or “bubble rate” that applies to adjusted gross income over $1 million ($1.2 million for couples) until it effectively claws back the benefits of the 12% bracket for the highest income households.

Doubles the standard deduction: The bill raises today’s standard deduction for singles to $12,200 from $6,350 currently; and it raises it for married couples filing jointly to $24,400 from $12,700.

That would drastically reduce the number of people who opt to itemize their deductions, since the only reason to do so is if your individual deductions combined exceed the standard deduction amount.

Eliminates personal exemptions: Today you’re allowed to claim a $4,050 personal exemption for yourself, your spouse and each of your dependents. The House bill eliminates that option.

Related: Senate tax cuts permanent for business, temporary for you

For families with three or more kids, that could mute, if not negate any tax relief they might enjoy as a result of other provisions in the bill.

Expands child tax credit: The bill would increase for five years the child tax credit to $1,600, up from $1,000, for any child under 17.

But that $600 increase won’t be available to the lowest-income families if they don’t end up owing federal income taxes. That’s because unlike the first $1,000, the extra $600 won’t be refundable. Refundable means that if your federal income tax bill is zero, you get a check from the government because of the credit.

The bill would let more people claim the child tax credit. The income level where the credit starts to phase out would increase to $115,000 for single parents, up from $75,000 today, and to $230,000 for married parents, up from $110,000.

Creates a new $300 family tax credit: Taxpayers may claim a $300 non-refundable tax credit for themselves as well as any nonchild dependent — for instance, a son or daughter over 17 whom you’re supporting, an ailing elderly mother or an adult child with a disability.

So a family of four — two parents, a 12-year-old daughter and an 18-year-old son — could reduce their tax bill by up to $2,500, said Elaine Maag, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute. They could claim the $1,600 child tax credit for the daughter, the $300 nonchild dependent credit for the son and a $300 credit for each parent.

The income thresholds governing the family tax credit are the same as for the child tax credit.

The family credit would expire after five years.

Kills state and local income tax deduction, limits property tax break: The prospect of fully repealing the state and local tax deduction, which lets filers deduct their property taxes as well as their state and local income or sales taxes, has been met with strong opposition from lawmakers in high-tax states and cities.

So the House bill preserves an itemized property tax deduction for property taxes but only up to $10,000.

Limits deductible mortgage interest: The bill preserves the mortgage deduction as is for existing mortgages. But for newly purchased homes, you would only be able to claim a deduction for interest you pay on mortgage debt up to $500,000, down from $1 million today.

But since the bill doubles the standard deduction, only 4% of filers would still claim the mortgage interest deduction, down from 21% today, according to Tax Policy Center estimates.

How do you think tax reform will affect you? Share your story with CNNMoney here

Repeals many other deductions: These include those for medical expenses, tax preparation fees, alimony payments, student loan interest and moving expenses.

Repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax: The AMT, originally intended to ensure the richest tax filers pay at least some tax by disallowing many tax breaks, but it most typically hits filers making between $200,000 and $1 million today.

Those who make more usually find they owe more tax under the regular income tax code, so end up having to pay that tab instead.

Repeals the estate tax: The estate tax today affects just 0.2% of all estates, and only those with more than $5.49 million in assets (or $10.98 million if you leave a spouse behind).

Nevertheless, Republicans are still pushing to repeal it. The House bill, however, would delay repeal until 2024, and in the meantime doubles the exemption levels.

Given that the White House and Republicans have been pushing tax reform as a boon to the middle class and given that the estate tax exemption levels already protect the vast majority of family farms and businesses from having to pay it, this provision may face a steep climb to the finish line.

FOR BUSINESSES

Lowers corporate tax rate: The bill would permanently cut the corporate rate to 20% from 35%.

Republicans argue that corporate tax cuts are good for the middle class because they will increase investment, jobs and wages. The White House even asserts that a corporate tax cut will result in at least a $4,000 boost in annual income for households.

But a lot of economists push back on the idea that the middle class will see a big raise soon, if at all.

Creates territorial tax system: U.S. companies owe U.S. tax on all their profits, regardless of where those profits are earned.

Many argue that this “worldwide” system puts American businesses at a disadvantage to foreign competitors. That’s because those competitors come from countries with territorial tax systems, meaning they don’t owe tax to their own governments on income they make offshore.

The House GOP bill would switch corporate taxation to a territorial system. That way, American companies would owe U.S. tax only on what they earn here. Their offshore profits would only be taxed by the country where the money is made.

Taxes existing overseas profits: The House bill would impose a one-time rate of 14% on existing foreign profits if they’re being held offshore in cash. Foreign profits that are invested in noncash assets offshore would be taxed at 7%. Companies would have up to eight years to pay what they owe.

The measure would raise revenue from income that has so far escaped U.S. taxation. Under current law, companies pay U.S. tax only when they bring the money home. But it’s also meant to entice companies to invest some of the foreign profits stateside.

Lowers tax rate on pass-throughs: Most U.S. businesses, large and small, are set up as pass-through businesses, not corporations. They’re called pass-throughs because their profits are passed through to the owners, shareholders and partners, who pay tax on them through their personal returns.

The House bill would lower the top income tax rate on pass-throughs’ profits to 25% from 39.6% today.

It would also offer a phased in lower rate of 9% for businesses that earn less than $75,000. That’s below the 12% bottom bracket in the House bill and below today’s 10% bracket.
Source

Nov 16, 2017
New York Times
How Every Member Voted on the House Tax Bill

The House on Thursday passed its version of a tax bill, largely along party lines. Every Democrat voted no, but so did 13 Republicans, many of whom represent districts in high-tax states that could be particularly hurt by the repeal of the state and local income tax deduction.

H.R.1 – TAX CUTS AND JOBS ACT YES NO Not voting
Republicans 227 13 0
Democrats 0 192 2
Total 227 205 2

The Senate is working on its own tax bill, and Republicans say they hope to pass a reconciled version through both chambers by the end of the year.

Republicans Who Represent High-Tax Districts

Most of the Republicans who voted no represent districts with a high average state and local tax deduction, which would be scaled back significantly under the House plan. Taxpayers would no longer be able to deduct state and local income and sales taxes, and the property tax deduction would be limited to $10,000.

District Representative Average state and local deduction Share taking the deduction Yes No
NJ-7 Leonard Lance $21,276 46%
N
NJ-11 Rodney Frelinghuysen 20,124 42
N
NY-2 Peter T. King 20,111 48
N
CA-48 Dana Rohrabacher 18,200 37
N
CA-45 Mimi Walters 18,200 37
Y
NY-1 Lee Zeldin 17,686 46
N
NJ-4 Christopher H. Smith 16,912 45
N
CA-25 Steve Knight 16,723 33
Y
CA-49 Darrell Issa 16,524 35
N
CA-39 Ed Royce 15,575 33
Y
MN-3 Erik Paulsen 15,021 40
Y
IL-6 Peter Roskam 14,830 38
Y
IL-14 Randy Hultgren 14,453 43
Y
CA-23 Kevin McCarthy 14,370 29
Y
NY-11 Dan Donovan 13,769 36
N
VA-10 Barbara Comstock 13,562 49
Y
PA-6 Ryan A. Costello 13,218 40
Y
MN-6 Tom Emmer 13,123 39
Y
PA-8 Brian Fitzpatrick 13,090 44
Y
CA-50 Duncan Hunter 12,808 34
Y
NY-19 John J. Faso 12,501 31
N
NE-2 Don Bacon 12,484 33
Y
PA-7 Patrick Meehan 12,456 38
Y
NY-24 John Katko 12,140 29
Y
NY-27 Chris Collins 12,125 29
Y
NJ-3 Tom MacArthur 11,987 43
Y
NY-21 Elise Stefanik 11,865 23
N
CA-4 Tom McClintock 11,802 36
N
Source: Tax Policy Center

The changes in the bill would primarily hurt higher-income taxpayers who deduct more than the higher proposed standard deduction ($12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for married couples) and those who currently deduct more than $10,000 in property taxes.

How Each House Member Voted

Republicans Yes No
Total 227 13
CA-4 Tom McClintock
N
CA-48 Dana Rohrabacher
N
CA-49 Darrell Issa
N
NC-3 Walter B. Jones
N
NJ-2 Frank A. LoBiondo
N
NJ-4 Christopher H. Smith
N
NJ-7 Leonard Lance
N
NJ-11 Rodney Frelinghuysen
N
NY-1 Lee Zeldin
N
NY-2 Peter T. King
N
NY-11 Dan Donovan
N
NY-19 John J. Faso
N
NY-21 Elise Stefanik
N
AK-1 Don Young
Y
AL-1 Bradley Byrne
Y
AL-2 Martha Roby
Y
AL-3 Mike D. Rogers
Y
AL-4 Robert B. Aderholt
Y
AL-5 Mo Brooks
Y
AL-6 Gary Palmer
Y
AR-1 Rick Crawford
Y
AR-2 French Hill
Y
AR-3 Steve Womack
Y
AR-4 Bruce Westerman
Y
AZ-2 Martha E. McSally
Y
AZ-4 Paul Gosar
Y
AZ-5 Andy Biggs
Y
AZ-6 David Schweikert
Y
AZ-8 Trent Franks
Y
CA-1 Doug LaMalfa
Y
CA-8 Paul Cook
Y
CA-10 Jeff Denham
Y
CA-21 David Valadao
Y
CA-22 Devin Nunes
Y
CA-23 Kevin McCarthy
Y
CA-25 Steve Knight
Y
CA-39 Ed Royce
Y
CA-42 Ken Calvert
Y
CA-45 Mimi Walters
Y
CA-50 Duncan Hunter
Y
CO-3 Scott Tipton
Y
CO-4 Ken Buck
Y
CO-5 Doug Lamborn
Y
CO-6 Mike Coffman
Y
FL-1 Matt Gaetz
Y
FL-2 Neal Dunn
Y
FL-3 Ted Yoho
Y
FL-4 John Rutherford
Y
FL-6 Ron DeSantis
Y
FL-8 Bill Posey
Y
FL-11 Daniel Webster
Y
FL-12 Gus Bilirakis
Y
FL-15 Dennis A. Ross
Y
FL-16 Vern Buchanan
Y
FL-17 Tom Rooney
Y
FL-18 Brian Mast
Y
FL-19 Francis Rooney
Y
FL-25 Mario Diaz-Balart
Y
FL-26 Carlos Curbelo
Y
FL-27 Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Y
GA-1 Earl L. “Buddy” Carter
Y
GA-3 Drew Ferguson
Y
GA-6 Karen Handel
Y
GA-7 Rob Woodall
Y
GA-8 Austin Scott
Y
GA-9 Doug Collins
Y
GA-10 Jody B. Hice
Y
GA-11 Barry Loudermilk
Y
GA-12 Rick W. Allen
Y
GA-14 Tom Graves
Y
IA-1 Rod Blum
Y
IA-3 David Young
Y
IA-4 Steve King
Y
ID-1 Raúl R. Labrador
Y
ID-2 Mike Simpson
Y
IL-6 Peter Roskam
Y
IL-12 Mike Bost
Y
IL-13 Rodney Davis
Y
IL-14 Randy Hultgren
Y
IL-15 John Shimkus
Y
IL-16 Adam Kinzinger
Y
IL-18 Darin M. LaHood
Y
IN-2 Jackie Walorski
Y
IN-3 Jim Banks
Y
IN-4 Todd Rokita
Y
IN-5 Susan W. Brooks
Y
IN-6 Luke Messer
Y
IN-8 Larry Bucshon
Y
IN-9 Trey Hollingsworth
Y
KS-1 Roger Marshall
Y
KS-2 Lynn Jenkins
Y
KS-3 Kevin Yoder
Y
KS-4 Ron Estes
Y
KY-1 James Comer
Y
KY-2 Brett Guthrie
Y
KY-4 Thomas Massie
Y
KY-5 Harold Rogers
Y
KY-6 Andy Barr
Y
LA-1 Steve Scalise
Y
LA-3 Clay Higgins
Y
LA-4 Mike Johnson
Y
LA-5 Ralph Abraham
Y
LA-6 Garret Graves
Y
MD-1 Andy Harris
Y
ME-2 Bruce Poliquin
Y
MI-1 Jack Bergman
Y
MI-2 Bill Huizenga
Y
MI-3 Justin Amash
Y
MI-4 John Moolenaar
Y
MI-6 Fred Upton
Y
MI-7 Tim Walberg
Y
MI-8 Mike Bishop
Y
MI-10 Paul Mitchell
Y
MI-11 Dave Trott
Y
MN-2 Jason Lewis
Y
MN-3 Erik Paulsen
Y
MN-6 Tom Emmer
Y
MO-2 Ann Wagner
Y
MO-3 Blaine Luetkemeyer
Y
MO-4 Vicky Hartzler
Y
MO-6 Sam Graves
Y
MO-7 Billy Long
Y
MO-8 Jason Smith
Y
MS-1 Trent Kelly
Y
MS-3 Gregg Harper
Y
MS-4 Steven M. Palazzo
Y
MT-1 Greg Gianforte
Y
NC-2 George Holding
Y
NC-5 Virginia Foxx
Y
NC-6 Mark Walker
Y
NC-7 David Rouzer
Y
NC-8 Richard Hudson
Y
NC-9 Robert Pittenger
Y
NC-10 Patrick T. McHenry
Y
NC-11 Mark Meadows
Y
NC-13 Ted Budd
Y
ND-1 Kevin Cramer
Y
NE-1 Jeff Fortenberry
Y
NE-2 Don Bacon
Y
NE-3 Adrian Smith
Y
NJ-3 Tom MacArthur
Y
NM-2 Steve Pearce
Y
NV-2 Mark Amodei
Y
NY-22 Claudia Tenney
Y
NY-23 Tom Reed
Y
NY-24 John Katko
Y
NY-27 Chris Collins
Y
OH-1 Steve Chabot
Y
OH-2 Brad Wenstrup
Y
OH-4 Jim Jordan
Y
OH-5 Bob Latta
Y
OH-6 Bill Johnson
Y
OH-7 Bob Gibbs
Y
OH-8 Warren Davidson
Y
OH-10 Michael R. Turner
Y
OH-12 Pat Tiberi
Y
OH-14 David Joyce
Y
OH-15 Steve Stivers
Y
OH-16 James B. Renacci
Y
OK-1 Jim Bridenstine
Y
OK-2 Markwayne Mullin
Y
OK-3 Frank D. Lucas
Y
OK-4 Tom Cole
Y
OK-5 Steve Russell
Y
OR-2 Greg Walden
Y
PA-3 Mike Kelly
Y
PA-4 Scott Perry
Y
PA-5 Glenn Thompson
Y
PA-6 Ryan A. Costello
Y
PA-7 Patrick Meehan
Y
PA-8 Brian Fitzpatrick
Y
PA-9 Bill Shuster
Y
PA-10 Tom Marino
Y
PA-11 Lou Barletta
Y
PA-12 Keith Rothfus
Y
PA-15 Charlie Dent
Y
PA-16 Lloyd K. Smucker
Y
SC-1 Mark Sanford
Y
SC-2 Joe Wilson
Y
SC-3 Jeff Duncan
Y
SC-4 Trey Gowdy
Y
SC-5 Ralph Norman
Y
SC-7 Tom Rice
Y
SD-1 Kristi Noem
Y
TN-1 Phil Roe
Y
TN-2 John J. Duncan Jr.
Y
TN-3 Chuck Fleischmann
Y
TN-4 Scott DesJarlais
Y
TN-6 Diane Black
Y
TN-7 Marsha Blackburn
Y
TN-8 David Kustoff
Y
TX-1 Louie Gohmert
Y
TX-2 Ted Poe
Y
TX-3 Sam Johnson
Y
TX-4 John Ratcliffe
Y
TX-5 Jeb Hensarling
Y
TX-6 Joe L. Barton
Y
TX-7 John Culberson
Y
TX-8 Kevin Brady
Y
TX-10 Michael McCaul
Y
TX-11 K. Michael Conaway
Y
TX-12 Kay Granger
Y
TX-13 Mac Thornberry
Y
TX-14 Randy Weber
Y
TX-17 Bill Flores
Y
TX-19 Jodey Arrington
Y
TX-21 Lamar Smith
Y
TX-22 Pete Olson
Y
TX-23 Will Hurd
Y
TX-24 Kenny Marchant
Y
TX-25 Roger Williams
Y
TX-26 Michael C. Burgess
Y
TX-27 Blake Farenthold
Y
TX-31 John Carter
Y
TX-32 Pete Sessions
Y
TX-36 Brian Babin
Y
UT-1 Rob Bishop
Y
UT-2 Chris Stewart
Y
UT-3 John Curtis
Y
UT-4 Mia Love
Y
VA-1 Rob Wittman
Y
VA-2 Scott Taylor
Y
VA-5 Tom Garrett
Y
VA-6 Robert W. Goodlatte
Y
VA-7 Dave Brat
Y
VA-9 Morgan Griffith
Y
VA-10 Barbara Comstock
Y
WA-3 Jaime Herrera Beutler
Y
WA-4 Dan Newhouse
Y
WA-5 Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Y
WA-8 Dave Reichert
Y
WI-1 Paul D. Ryan
Y
WI-5 Jim Sensenbrenner
Y
WI-6 Glenn Grothman
Y
WI-7 Sean P. Duffy
Y
WI-8 Mike Gallagher
Y
WV-1 David B. McKinley
Y
WV-2 Alex X. Mooney
Y
WV-3 Evan H. Jenkins
Y
WY-1 Liz Cheney
Y
Democrats Yes No
Total 0 192
AL-7 Terri A. Sewell
N
AZ-1 Tom O’Halleran
N
AZ-3 Raúl M. Grijalva
N
AZ-7 Ruben Gallego
N
AZ-9 Kyrsten Sinema
N
CA-2 Jared Huffman
N
CA-3 John Garamendi
N
CA-5 Mike Thompson
N
CA-6 Doris Matsui
N
CA-7 Ami Bera
N
CA-9 Jerry McNerney
N
CA-11 Mark DeSaulnier
N
CA-12 Nancy Pelosi
N
CA-13 Barbara Lee
N
CA-14 Jackie Speier
N
CA-15 Eric Swalwell
N
CA-16 Jim Costa
N
CA-17 Ro Khanna
N
CA-18 Anna G. Eshoo
N
CA-19 Zoe Lofgren
N
CA-20 Jimmy Panetta
N
CA-24 Salud Carbajal
N
CA-26 Julia Brownley
N
CA-27 Judy Chu
N
CA-28 Adam B. Schiff
N
CA-29 Tony Cardenas
N
CA-30 Brad Sherman
N
CA-31 Pete Aguilar
N
CA-32 Grace F. Napolitano
N
CA-33 Ted Lieu
N
CA-34 Jimmy Gomez
N
CA-35 Norma J. Torres
N
CA-36 Raul Ruiz
N
CA-37 Karen Bass
N
CA-38 Linda T. Sánchez
N
CA-40 Lucille Roybal-Allard
N
CA-41 Mark Takano
N
CA-43 Maxine Waters
N
CA-44 Nanette Barragán
N
CA-46 J. Luis Correa
N
CA-47 Alan Lowenthal
N
CA-51 Juan C. Vargas
N
CA-52 Scott Peters
N
CA-53 Susan A. Davis
N
CO-1 Diana DeGette
N
CO-2 Jared Polis
N
CO-7 Ed Perlmutter
N
CT-1 John B. Larson
N
CT-2 Joe Courtney
N
CT-3 Rosa DeLauro
N
CT-4 Jim Himes
N
CT-5 Elizabeth Esty
N
DE-1 Lisa Blunt Rochester
N
FL-5 Al Lawson
N
FL-7 Stephanie Murphy
N
FL-9 Darren Soto
N
FL-10 Val Demings
N
FL-13 Charlie Crist
N
FL-14 Kathy Castor
N
FL-20 Alcee L. Hastings
N
FL-21 Lois Frankel
N
FL-22 Ted Deutch
N
FL-23 Debbie Wasserman Schultz
N
GA-2 Sanford D. Bishop Jr.
N
GA-4 Hank Johnson
N
GA-5 John Lewis
N
GA-13 David Scott
N
HI-1 Colleen Hanabusa
N
HI-2 Tulsi Gabbard
N
IA-2 Dave Loebsack
N
IL-1 Bobby L. Rush
N
IL-2 Robin Kelly
N
IL-3 Daniel Lipinski
N
IL-4 Luis V. Gutiérrez
N
IL-5 Mike Quigley
N
IL-7 Danny K. Davis
N
IL-8 Raja Krishnamoorthi
N
IL-9 Jan Schakowsky
N
IL-10 Brad Schneider
N
IL-11 Bill Foster
N
IL-17 Cheri Bustos
N
IN-1 Peter J. Visclosky
N
IN-7 André Carson
N
KY-3 John Yarmuth
N
LA-2 Cedric L. Richmond
N
MA-1 Richard E. Neal
N
MA-2 Jim McGovern
N
MA-3 Niki Tsongas
N
MA-4 Joseph P. Kennedy III
N
MA-5 Katherine M. Clark
N
MA-6 Seth Moulton
N
MA-7 Michael E. Capuano
N
MA-8 Stephen F. Lynch
N
MA-9 William Keating
N
MD-2 C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger
N
MD-3 John Sarbanes
N
MD-4 Anthony Brown
N
MD-5 Steny H. Hoyer
N
MD-6 John Delaney
N
MD-7 Elijah E. Cummings
N
MD-8 Jamie Raskin
N
ME-1 Chellie Pingree
N
MI-5 Dan Kildee
N
MI-9 Sander M. Levin
N
MI-12 Debbie Dingell
N
MI-13 John Conyers Jr.
N
MI-14 Brenda Lawrence
N
MN-1 Tim Walz
N
MN-4 Betty McCollum
N
MN-5 Keith Ellison
N
MN-7 Collin C. Peterson
N
MN-8 Rick Nolan
N
MO-1 William Lacy Clay
N
MO-5 Emanuel Cleaver II
N
MS-2 Bennie Thompson
N
NC-1 G. K. Butterfield
N
NC-4 David E. Price
N
NC-12 Alma Adams
N
NH-1 Carol Shea-Porter
N
NH-2 Ann McLane Kuster
N
NJ-1 Donald Norcross
N
NJ-5 Josh Gottheimer
N
NJ-6 Frank Pallone Jr.
N
NJ-8 Albio Sires
N
NJ-9 Bill Pascrell Jr.
N
NJ-10 Donald M. Payne Jr.
N
NJ-12 Bonnie Watson Coleman
N
NM-1 Michelle Lujan Grisham
N
NM-3 Ben Ray Luján
N
NV-1 Dina Titus
N
NV-3 Jacky Rosen
N
NV-4 Ruben Kihuen
N
NY-3 Tom Suozzi
N
NY-4 Kathleen Rice
N
NY-5 Gregory W. Meeks
N
NY-6 Grace Meng
N
NY-7 Nydia M. Velazquez
N
NY-8 Hakeem Jeffries
N
NY-9 Yvette D. Clarke
N
NY-10 Jerrold Nadler
N
NY-12 Carolyn B. Maloney
N
NY-13 Adriano Espaillat
N
NY-14 Joseph Crowley
N
NY-15 José E. Serrano
N
NY-16 Eliot L. Engel
N
NY-17 Nita M. Lowey
N
NY-18 Sean Patrick Maloney
N
NY-20 Paul Tonko
N
NY-25 Louise M. Slaughter
N
NY-26 Brian Higgins
N
OH-3 Joyce Beatty
N
OH-9 Marcy Kaptur
N
OH-11 Marcia L. Fudge
N
OH-13 Tim Ryan
N
OR-1 Suzanne Bonamici
N
OR-3 Earl Blumenauer
N
OR-4 Peter A. DeFazio
N
OR-5 Kurt Schrader
N
PA-1 Robert A. Brady
N
PA-2 Dwight Evans
N
PA-13 Brendan F. Boyle
N
PA-14 Mike Doyle
N
PA-17 Matt Cartwright
N
RI-1 David Cicilline
N
RI-2 Jim Langevin
N
SC-6 James E. Clyburn
N
TN-5 Jim Cooper
N
TN-9 Steve Cohen
N
TX-9 Al Green
N
TX-15 Vicente Gonzalez
N
TX-16 Beto O’Rourke
N
TX-18 Sheila Jackson Lee
N
TX-20 Joaquin Castro
N
TX-28 Henry Cuellar
N
TX-29 Gene Green
N
TX-30 Eddie Bernice Johnson
N
TX-33 Marc Veasey
N
TX-34 Filemon Vela
N
TX-35 Lloyd Doggett
N
VA-3 Robert C. Scott
N
VA-4 A. Donald McEachin
N
VA-8 Don Beyer
N
VA-11 Gerald E. Connolly
N
VT-1 Peter Welch
N
WA-1 Suzan DelBene
N
WA-2 Rick Larsen
N
WA-6 Derek Kilmer
N
WA-7 Pramila Jayapal
N
WA-9 Adam Smith
N
WA-10 Denny Heck
N
WI-3 Ron Kind
N
WI-4 Gwen Moore
N
FL-24 Frederica S. Wilson
WI-2 Mark Pocan

Source

Nov 9, 2017
The Hill
Key differences between the Senate and House tax plans

Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a tax reform bill that breaks with the House in a variety of significant ways, taking into account various objections from constituents and special interest groups to the House plan.

If the House Republican bill was a first draft of tax reform, the Senate bill is the first rewrite.

“I like it better than what I saw in the House version,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.). “The Senate was able to learn a lot from what the House found it.

The Senate bill attempts to mollify opposition from two important special interest groups, the National Association of Home Builders and the National Federation of Independent Business.

But it will likely draw strong opposition from moderate House Republicans in wealthy suburban districts whose constituents take big deductions for local taxes.

Here are the key differences between the Senate and House bills.

State and local taxes 

The Senate bill will entirely repeal the deduction for state and local taxes, making no exception for property taxes.

The House bill, in a bid to win support from moderate Republicans, would allow deductions up to $10,000 for property taxes.

Senate Republicans see little need to allow property tax deductions as they don’t have members in their conference from high-tax states such as California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) is trying to exploit the difference by calling on House GOP moderates to kill tax reform.

Reps. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Erik Paulsen (R-Min.), Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Mimi Walters (R-Calif.) represent districts where a significant percentage of voters take big deductions for local taxes.

Roskam and Paulsen are both members of the House Ways and Means Committee and voted for the House bill. Roskam is also chairman of the panel’s tax-policy subcommittee.

The Senate would keep in place the deduction for newly purchased homes up to $1 million while the House plan would cut the threshold to $500,000.

The House Ways and Means Committee added the lower cap on mortgage interest deductions as a last-minute revenue raiser and it drew strong opposition from the National Association of Home Builders, a powerful special interest group.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), a member of the Finance Committee, pushed to raise the limit, arguing that homes priced between $500,000 and $1 million are average in high-income areas such as San Francisco, New York and the District of Columbia.

Popular tax credits and deductions

The Senate would keep in place a variety of popular tax credits and deductions that would have been eliminated by the House tax bill released last week.

It preserves tax credits and deductions for adoption, medical expense, teacher expenses, and student loan interest.

“We stayed kind of inside the big structural issues,” said a Senate Finance Committee aide.

The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday adopted an amendment to restore the adoption tax credit.

The Senate bill would also raise the income limit for the child credit.

Tax brackets

The House bill would condense the number of tax brackets to four: 12 percent for income up to $90,000; 25 percent for income up to $260,000; 35 percent for income up to $1 million; and 39.6 percent for income over $1 million.

The Senate bill would establish seven tax brackets at 10 percent, 12 percent, 22.5 percent, 25 percent, 32.5 percent, 35 percent and 38.5 percent for the nation’s highest income earners.

The top rate kicks in for individuals who earn $500,000 and couples who earn $1 million.

Senate Republicans said they were concerned about the optics of changing the 10 percent bracket to 12 percent while cutting the corporate tax rate, even though low-income earners would be covered by the doubling of the standard deduction in both bills.

Estate tax

The Senate bill would double the estate-tax exemption for wealthy estates from $11 million to $22 million per couple (or from $5.5 million to $11 million per individual) while the House bill would repeal the estate tax entirely.

Moderate Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) last week said she opposed getting rid of the estate tax entirely.

Corporate tax rate

The Senate would cut the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, like the House would, but delay its implementation until 2019 to reduce the projected cost of the bill over ten years.

The House would cut the corporate tax rate next year.

Pass-through businesses

The Senate would establish a 17.4 percent deduction for pass-through businesses based on the Section 199 domestic manufacturing deduction that would lower the effective tax rate for small businesses in the top tax rate to slightly more than 30 percent, according to Senate Finance Committee aide.

It would apply to certain domestic non-service passthrough income, according to the committee.

The House bill, by contrast, would have established a 25 percent rate for pass-through companies but would only make 30 percent of their revenue eligible for that rate and tax the other 70 percent as wages under the individual tax rate. That would result in a blended rate for many small businesses between 35 percent and 38 percent.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) last week called the House formula “completely unacceptable.”

The National Federation of Independent Business, which contributes money overwhelming in favor of GOP candidates, complained the House bill “leaves too many small businesses behind.”

On Thursday the group said, “We are very encouraged by the plan introduced by [Senate Finance Committee] Chairman [Orrin] Hatch [R-Utah.].”

The House on Thursday adopted an amendment to provide additional relief to small businesses and won back the support of NFIB. It would create a new nine-percent tax rate for the first $75,000 of income of a married active owner who has less than $150,000 of pass-through income.

NFIB president Juanita Duggan said her group was “grateful” the House Ways and Means Committee listened to her group’s concerns.  Source

Nov 9, 2017
The Hill
Monopoly critics decry ‘Amazon amendment’

Lawmakers put the finishing touches this week on military funding legislation that contains a provision that stands to significantly benefit Amazon.

The amendment, Section 801 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), would help Amazon establish a tight grip on the lucrative, $53 billion government acquisitions market, experts say.

The provision, dubbed the “Amazon amendment” by experts, according to an article in The Intercept, would allow for the creation of an online portal that government employees could use to purchase everyday items such as office supplies or furniture.

This government-only version of Amazon, which could potentially include a few other websites, would give participating companies direct access to the $53 billion market for government acquisitions of commercial products.

“It hands an enormous amount of power over to Amazon,” said Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a research group that advocates for local businesses.

Mitchell said that the provision could allow Amazon to gain a monopoly or duopoly on the profitable world of commercial government purchases, leaving smaller businesses behind and further consolidating the behemoth tech firm’s power.

Amazon declined to comment to The Hill on Section 801.

The Seattle-based tech giant spent the second and third quarters of 2017 lobbying on the NDAA and “government procurement,” according to disclosures that the company filed this year.

Amazon has also recruited outside firms to help it influence policymakers on the matter. Disclosure filings made by lobbying firm TwinLogic Strategies, made on behalf of Amazon as its client, do not specify the exact legislation that they tried to influence, but note that they focused on the “modernization of the procurement process.”

The Internet Association, a trade group representing the political interests of major tech firms like Amazon, Google and Facebook, also pushed lawmakers on the matter.

“Dozens of acquisition reform proposals over the years have highlighted the need to inject greater innovation and disruption into federal procurement,” the group’s President Michael Beckerman wrote in an Oct. 12 letter addressed to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) and ranking member Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

In his letter, Beckerman wrote that a government purchasing portal offers “just that opportunity.”

Despite the size of the potential windfall for Amazon, Section 801 has gone unnoticed by some lawmakers on the House and Senate Armed Services committees, which are responsible for drafting and finalizing the NDAA.

Many legislators in the House and Senate whom The Hill asked about the bill were not immediately familiar with the provision, though some expressed interest and commented later after reviewing Section 801.

Those who were familiar with the provision had mixed opinions, but many lawmakers leaned toward supporting it.

“I’m going to seriously scrutinize it and see if we’ll want to revise it in some way,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

The Connecticut senator said he was skeptical of criticisms that the provision would allow Amazon to dominate the government procurement market.

“My concern is that every company have a chance to participate in the procurement process — both online and traditional,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who represents Silicon Valley, told The Hill when questioned about the amendment.

Khanna said it was essential that the final version of the bill ensured “transparency in input pricing and also to make sure they have multiple bids from competitors.”

Another member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), offered a more pointed defense of Section 801.

“This isn’t about Amazon, although Amazon lobbied for it. It’s about trying to create online space for purchasing so that [the Department of Defense] can get something for value,” Larsen argued.

He explained that the provision was born out of trying to create a specific provision for Defense Department procurement only. But the committee realized that, to do that, “we’d have to set up a mini-[General Services Administration] inside the Defense Department.”

“So then it became more broad,” Larsen said.

In a briefing on Wednesday before the bill’s release, senior House and Senate Armed Services committee staffers explained that, in addition to Amazon and Walmart, Staples and industrial supply company Grainger would be eligible to also provide commercial items.

But Mitchell is skeptical, pointing to language in the current version of the bill that would appear to exclude Staples and Grainger.

“The way the language reads to me, it’s hard to imagine that there are any other companies who would fit the bill besides Amazon and perhaps Walmart,” she said. “Those are the only retailers who are operating online marketplaces who seem to be in a situation to create a government marketplace portal that this provision envisions.”

The House Armed Services Committee contests the idea that Section 801 will only benefit one or two companies, saying that multiple companies will have access to the government procurement market in the final version of the NDAA.

“[Amazon’s dominance of government procurement] is a myth that opponents of the provision have been shopping for a while, that we wrote the language in such a way as to exclude more specialized marketplaces,” a representative from the House Armed Services Committee told The Hill over email, adding that some of Section 801’s language had been changed in the latest version of the provision.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) has made a strong push for online marketplace reform. In addition to advocating for the amendment, he also introduced a standalone bill in May that shares similar goals with Section 801.

Mitchell and other experts believe that Section 801 could have harmful impacts.

“It’s incredibly dangerous,” said Matt Stoller, an economist at the Open Markets Institute, a think tank critical of Amazon’s growing power. “What it’s doing is concentrating the buying power of the country into the hands of Jeff Bezos.”    Source

Nov. 3, 2017
talkpoverty.org
The Most Horrifying Provisions Hidden in the House Republican Tax Plan

Yesterday, House Republicans released their tax plan, finally providing long-awaited details on what they really mean when they promise “tax reform.” While they billed it as a middle-class tax cut, the new legislation is filled with gifts for wealthy corporations and the richest Americans. Meanwhile, middle-class and working families would at best get scraps—and in many cases, see their taxes increase.

Many of the most extreme tax increases come in the form of eliminated tax credits or deductions buried deep in the text of the bill—and ignored by lawmakers and the media. With tax increases affecting groups ranging from seniors and people with disabilities, to families facing costly medical bills, to immigrant children, to people with student loans—to name just a few—the bill is a virtual laundry list of tax increases on populations who are often struggling to make ends meet.

Here are eight of the most horrifying provisions buried in the tax plan.

1. It raises taxes for people with student loans

Americans now owe more than $1.4 trillion in student loan debt—nearly double all credit card debt. The average monthly payment is up to $351 (or more than $4,200 a year) for borrowers between the ages of 20 and 30—a large chunk of income for young Americans.

Thankfully, under current law, borrowers can deduct up to $2,500 of the interest on these loans per year, which helped more than 12 million Americans in 2015. But the House tax plan eliminates that deduction. If the plan passes, the average borrower will see their taxes go up by $275 each year just on student loan interest. And a borrower who pays the full $2,500 in interest would see their taxes go up even more—by a whopping $625.

Americans owe more than $1.4 trillion in student loan debt—nearly double all credit card debt

2. It raises taxes on people facing high medical expenses

Under current law, people are able to deduct medical expenses that exceed 10 percent of their income for the year. This benefits thousands of people facing serious illnesses or with long-term care needs—and gives them some financial relief in the face of high medical bills.

But the House Republican plan eliminates that deduction, too. This will hit people with disabilities as well as elderly nursing home residentsparticularly hard, as they often pay tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs for long-term care. Much like their earlier plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the change is also aimed directly at states that supported Donald Trump in the 2016 election, where residents are more likely to be uninsured and have higher medical costs.

3. It ends a tax credit that helps parents adopt

For thousands of adoptive parents, adoption is only possible because of the adoption tax credit, which helps parents recoup up to $13,000 of the cost of adoption. House Republicans would eliminate the adoption tax credit, making it harder for countless would-be parents to have children. There are more than 100,000 children in U.S. foster care today (not to mention millions more orphaned or abandoned), and eliminating the credit would make it significantly harder for them to find a permanent home.

4. It makes disability accessibility more expensive for small businesses

Under current law, small businesses can claim a tax credit to offset 50 percent of the cost of accessibility for people with disabilities for expenses between $250 and $10,250. But the House GOP tax bill would eliminate that tax credit, effectively raising taxes on small businesses trying to make sure their doors are open to people with disabilities. This comes as legislation currently pending in the House—misleadingly titled the “ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017”—would gut the very part of the Americans with Disabilities Act that requires public places to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities.

5. It eliminates a tax credit that spurs investment in poor communities

Trump has repeatedly promised to save and bring back jobs in communities left behind. But the House Republican tax bill would eliminate a tax credit that encourages businesses to invest in hard-hit rural and urban areas. Investors who qualify for the New Markets Tax Credit get a tax credit to partially offset their investments in distressed communities where the poverty rate is 20 percent or higher. The vast majority of the tax credit’s funding has benefited communities with unemployment rates more than 1.5 times the national average and/or poverty rates of at least 30 percent.

6. It allows churches to be manipulated for political purposes

Under current law, 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations—including churches—are prohibited from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Trump has long made known his desire to repeal this policy, known as the Johnson Amendment—as far back as the early 2000s, as well as throughout his presidential campaign—claiming it violates churches’ First Amendment rights. And hidden in the House GOP tax bill is a provision that would make good on Trump’s promise, despite the fact that nearly 80 percent of Americans say they do not support political endorsements in church. As a letter from more than 4,000 faith leaders opposing this change states: “Faith leaders are called to speak truth to power, and we cannot do so if we are merely cogs in partisan political machines.”

Buried in House Republicans’ tax bill is their latest effort to advance the GOP’s anti-choice agenda

7. It takes away critical income from immigrant families with kids

While House Republicans are busy patting themselves on the back for including modest enhancements to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in their tax bill, they have changed the credit so that many immigrant families with citizen children will not be able to receive it. The bill would require all filers to provide a Social Security number, instead of an Individual Tax Identification Number, which immigrant workers with qualifying citizen children can currently use to claim the credit. According to the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, more than 5.1 million children of immigrant parents would lose access to the CTC under this provision.

8. It gives fetuses legal status as people

Buried in House Republicans’ tax bill is their latest effort to advance the GOP’s anti-choice agenda. Specifically, they use a provision in the bill that would allow parents to buy 529 college savings plans for unborn children as a smoke screen to, yet again, try to give fetuses legal status as people. The provision goes out of its way to define unborn child as a “child in utero … a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.” This comes on the heels of Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services’ strategic plan draft released last month, which bent over backwards to define life as beginning at conception.

Source

Nov 2, 2017
NPR
CHART: How The Tax Overhaul Would Affect You

House Republicans have put forward their first stab at a tax overhaul bill, and while some parts have been long-promised — fewer brackets, a steep corporate tax cut — there were a few surprises, like the fact that the new bill doesn’t touch 401(k) savings rules.

Here’s a look at some of the changes that individual filers could expect if this bill were to pass, as-is. The bar chart shows what current brackets look like, compared to the GOP’s proposed brackets, and the table lays out different changes for different types of taxpayers. We will update the table as new versions of the bill come out. Read more

Nov 2, 2017
The Hill
Winners and losers in the Republican tax bill

Not everyone benefits equally from the tax legislation that House Republicans unveiled Thursday.

GOP leaders toiled for weeks to decide what deductions and tax breaks should be axed to pay for the tax cuts. That means the bill creates some winners and some losers.

Republicans say their plan will simplify the code and provide tax relief to middle-class families.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) repeatedly touted an example on Thursday of how a family of four earning the median American household income of $59,000 would save $1,182 a year on their taxes, using the proposed doubled standard deduction, reduced tax rate and expanded child tax credits.

But Democrats argue that most of the benefits of the GOP tax proposal will flow to the ultra-wealthy and corporations.

Here’s a look at who stands to gain and who stands to lose out.

Winners

Corporations

Corporations would get a big tax cut from the GOP’s proposal. The corporate tax rate would go down from the current rate of 35 percent to 20 percent.

Republicans say it’s imperative to lower the U.S. corporate tax rate, the highest among other advanced countries, to attract more businesses.

Companies would also be allowed to deduct the full costs of buying new equipment for five years. And businesses that had been keeping profits overseas to avoid the 35 percent tax rate would be able to bring the money back, or repatriate, to the U.S., and pay only a 12 percent tax for cash assets.

The Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs, threw its support behind the tax plan.

“While the tax-reform bill released today deserves close analysis, it is significant progress toward achieving these goals,” said Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and chairman of Business Roundtable.

Major business groups

Leaders in the business community have been pushing tax reform for years, and they generally liked what they saw.

Key players, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, spoke positively of the bill. They back provisions to lower rates for businesses, to move to a “territorial” tax system that exempts dividends from companies’ foreign subsidiaries, and to enhance expensing of capital investments.

“This is absolutely a positive first step,” said Caroline Harris, vice president of tax policy at the Chamber.

While most large business groups praised the bill, there was a notable exception. The National Federation of Independent Business said it couldn’t support the bill in its current form because it doesn’t help small businesses enough.

Super-wealthy individuals

Republicans kept the top tax rate in place, but the country’s wealthiest individuals have a lot to gain from the bill.

First off, the income tax bracket thresholds increase, which will accrue savings at the top.

Second, the bill would double the limit on the estate tax, and then phase it out altogether. Currently, the estate tax only applies to estates of $5.5 million or more, and twice that for couples. The bill would immediately double that, giving tax shelter to anyone with an estate between $5.5 million and $11 million (or, again, double those amounts for couples). After a few years, the tax would be eliminated altogether, meaning that the very wealthiest in the country could receive their inheritances tax-free.

Third, the plan would lower the taxation rates of “pass-through” corporations, or S-corps, to 25 percent, allowing certain business owners to claim part of their income at the lower rate.

Fourth, it would eliminate the alternative minimum tax, which was intended to create a floor on tax exemptions.

Retirement savings stakeholders

A number of businesses and groups in the financial industry were nervous ahead of the bill’s release because they had heard that lawmakers were considering significantly reducing the amount of money people could put into 401(k) retirement accounts on a pre-tax basis.

However, the bill did not end up reducing the 401(k) annual contribution limits. President Trump advocated for keeping 401(k)s as they are.

“The proposal released today is good news for millions of middle-class families across the nation,” said the Save Our Savings Coalition, which includes AARP, Financial Services Roundtable and TIAA. “Under this plan, American workers, families, and retirees will continue to have the freedom to choose the savings vehicle that best suits their needs.”

Advocates of repealing the Johnson Amendment

Many conservatives have been pushing for repeal of the Johnson Amendment — a 1954 measure that prohibits houses of worship and other tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates.

Opponents of the amendment believe it infringes on churches’ First Amendment rights and has a chilling effect on religious leaders who might fear retribution from the IRS.

The bill would allow religious institutions to engage in political activity as long as the speech is in the entity’s ordinary course of business and the expenses are minimal.

 

Losers

Blue states

Americans in urban — and typically Democratic-leaning — areas would end up helping foot the bill for the GOP’s proposed tax cuts.

The GOP plan would eliminate the state and local tax deduction, which is taken by many people in high-tax, populous states to avoid double taxation. The bill would allow people to still deduct up to $10,000 on local property taxes, but Republicans from states like New York and New Jersey say that’s not enough to win their votes.

Then there’s the bill’s proposal to cap the mortgage home interest deduction for loans up to $500,000, down from the current limit of $1 million. The new rule would only apply to new mortgages taken out after the bill’s enactment.

While $500,000 might seem high, it won’t get taxpayers very far in expensive cities like New York, San Francisco or Washington, D.C., and their surrounding suburbs.

The median home value in Washington, for example, is $538,700, according to real estate tracker Zillow. In San Francisco, it’s $1.2 million.

“When you get into states like New Jersey and New York, it doesn’t take that much to get into a home of that cost,” said Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), who wants the cap to be higher than $500,000.

The bill would also eliminate the ability to issue several types of tax-advantaged bonds, including some types of bonds that help finance low-income housing and infrastructure.

Budget deficit

Debt watchdogs were not happy with the proposal, which can add up to $1.5 trillion to the debt over a decade.

“Passing a bill to our kids is not the right way to pass a bill. This legislation is an example of fiscal irresponsibility,” said Peterson Foundation President Michael A. Peterson. The bill, he argued, included arbitrary phase-ins and expirations designed to mask the bill’s true costs.

The Center for a Responsible Federal Budget’s President Maya MacGuineas noted that the additional debt amounted to almost $12,000 per household.

“Given the huge unpaid-for gap remaining, this plan does not constitute true comprehensive, revenue-neutral and pro-growth reform,” she said.

Homeowners

Homebuilders and real estate agents said the tax reform plan would probably lead to a drop in home values and a tax increase on middle-class homeowners.

The proposed legislation would cap the deduction at $500,000 for new home purchases, a drop from $1 million in current law.

The tax deduction is viewed as a key incentive to encourage home buying.

“The bill eviscerates existing housing tax benefits by drastically reducing the number of homeowners who can take advantage of mortgage interest and property tax incentives,” said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.

Homes sold before implementation of any new tax law will keep the higher deduction.

Homebuilder stock took a hit after the release of the bill Thursday. And realtors said they would oppose the plan because of the provisions.

“Tax hikes and falling home prices are a one-two punch that homeowners simply can’t afford,” said William E. Brown, president of the National Association of Realtors.

Nonprofits

The bill maintains the deduction for charitable contributions. However, the number of people who would claim the deduction would be reduced, since the measure also nearly doubles the standard deduction.

Many nonprofits also oppose scaling back the Johnson Amendment, arguing that doing so would politicize charitable organizations.

“The tax reform bill unveiled today by the House Ways and Means Committee would tragically undermine the ability of certain charitable nonprofits to serve our country’s people and communities,” said Tim Delaney, president and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits.

Universities

The tax bill would add a new tax on universities with big endowments.

Colleges and universities that have endowments equivalent to $100,000 per student or more will have to pay a new 1.4 percent tax on endowment income.

Universities build their endowments from donations that are tax deductible. The plan would also put limitations on certain donations, such as those attached to sporting events.

“Imposing an excise tax on nonprofit private university endowments is a short-sighted move that will only harm students and their families,” said Association of American Universities President Mary Sue Coleman.

The bill would also eliminate the interest deduction on student loans, which affects about a third of Americans with student debt.

“Eliminating employer-provided educational assistance, the student loan interest deduction, and other critical higher education tax provisions is counterproductive as it undermines the very workforce Congress seeks to support,” Coleman said.  Source

(Chester County Congressmen voted to eliminate)
Oct 27, 2017

readingeagle.com
Two Berks County commissioners oppose nixing federal deduction 

As part of its effort to overhaul the federal tax system, Congress is debating whether to eliminate the long-standing federal deduction for state and local taxes and use the extra revenue to reduce tax rates across the board.

And two of the Berks County commissioners are speaking out against the proposal.

Commissioners Chairman Christian Y. Leinbach and Kevin S. Barnhardt announced at their weekly meeting Thursday that they will send a letter to the county’s congressional delegation, President Donald Trump and leaders of the House and Senate urging them to oppose repeal of the deduction, known by the acronym of SALT, stating that it reduces federal taxes for more than 60,000 households in Berks County.

Commissioner Mark C. Scott refused to sign the letter.

He argued the federal subsidy mainly benefits the wealthy and eliminating it would help reduce the national deficit. A 2016 report from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center showed ending the deduction would save the federal government $1.3 trillion over 10 years.

“If we do not offset the increased standard deduction with the elimination of the state and local tax deduction, the national debt will continue to rise,” he said. “I understand the argument on the other side but you can’t have it all. Some of these reforms which are meant to simplify the process will entail some sacrifice.”

But Leinbach pushed back on that argument.

He argued that the deduction is double-taxation and fundamentally violates the principal that taxes should be based on real income. He said the idea of preventing the federal government from taxing money that citizens must pay to state and local tax collectors goes back to the Civil War, and the deduction was included in the original income tax legislation.

“If the state and local tax deduction is eliminated it will have a $1.3 trillion impact on taxpayers nationwide,” he said. “Overwhelmingly, the people who take advantage of this are working-class folks. The statistics are crystal clear.”

The National Association of Counties estimates that 61,480 households in Berks County claimed the deduction in 2015, resulting in deductions of $635 million. The nonpartisan organization found that nearly 75 percent of those deductions benefitted households where residents were making less than $200,000.

But by the time lawmakers receive the letter from commissioners, it may be too late.

While the board was debating the merits of sending the letter, the House of Representatives voted to move forward on a budget that would eliminate the deduction. Those representing Berks County – U.S. Reps. Ryan Costello, Pat Meehan, Charlie Dent and Lloyd Smucker – voted to advance the legislation.

In other business, representatives from the United Way of Berks County stopped by the meeting to remind county residents that the Pennsylvania 2-1-1 hotline offers information and referral service that connects users with health and human services.

Tammy White, president of the local United Way, told commissioners that since the service was launched in 2011 it has greatly reduced the time it took residents to connect with the services that were needed.

She reported that Berks callers in 2016 were most interested in rent assistance, food pantries, utilities assistance and community shelters. The service referred callers to 92 different agencies. The top five were: Opportunity House, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Catholic Charities, Berks Community Action Program and Family Promise.

Source

Oct 20, 2017
New York Times
Republicans Consider Sharp Cut in 401(k) Contribution Limits

WASHINGTON — House Republicans are considering a plan to sharply reduce the amount of income American workers can save in tax-deferred retirement accounts as part of a broad effort to rewrite the tax code, according to lobbyists, tax consultants and congressional Democrats.

It is unclear if Republicans will ultimately include a cap on contributions in the tax bill that they are expected to release in the coming weeks. Such a move would almost certainly prompt a vocal backlash from middle-class workers who save heavily in such retirement accounts and from the asset management industry.

The proposals under discussion would potentially cap the annual amount workers can set aside to as low as $2,400 for 401(k) accounts, several lobbyists and consultants said on Friday. Workers may currently put up to $18,000 a year in 401(k) accounts without paying taxes upfront on that money; that figure rises to $24,000 for workers over 50. When workers retire and begin to draw income from those accounts, they pay taxes on the benefits.

Rumors have circulated for months that negotiators were debating including a cap as a way to help offset the revenue loss from a reduction in business tax rates that Republicans have put at the center of their plan. Reducing contribution limits would be, in effect, an accounting maneuver that would create space for tax cuts by collecting tax revenue now instead of in the future.

Such a move would be likely to push Americans to shift their savings to so-called Roth accounts, where contributions are taxed immediately, and not when they are drawn out as benefits. That would increase federal tax receipts for the short run. Read more

Sept 27, 2017
Reuters
Trump proposes U.S. tax overhaul, stirs concerns on deficit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump proposed on Wednesday the biggest U.S. tax overhaul in three decades, calling for tax cuts for most Americans, but prompting criticism that the plan favors business and the rich and could add trillions of dollars to the deficit.

The proposal drew a swift, skeptical response from Senator Bob Corker, a leading Republican “fiscal hawk,” who vowed not to vote for any federal tax package financed with borrowed money.

“What I can tell you is that I’m not about to vote for any bill that increases our deficit, period,” Corker, who said on Tuesday he would not seek re-election in 2018, told reporters.

Trump said his tax plan was aimed at helping working people, creating jobs and making the tax code simpler and fairer. But it faces an uphill battle in the U.S. Congress with Trump’s own Republican Party divided over it and Democrats hostile.
Read more

Sept 28, 2017
LancasterOnline
Smucker: Tax reform plan is ‘exactly the types of reforms I wanted to see’

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker praised the tax reform “framework” released by Republican leaders Wednesday, saying in a statement that it would mean tax cuts for every American.

The plan, promoted by House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump, is a step toward what officials have promised would mean lower tax rates for large and small businesses and the middle class while expanding the economy and not further inflating the national debt.

Questions remain about some specific aspects of the plan and how much it will cost. Democratic opponents have also said it would benefit the wealthiest Americans more than middle-class taxpayers.

Smucker, in his campaign last year and since taking office in January, has frequently brought up his small-business background to say he believes cutting taxes for small businesses will lead to economic growth.

He has also emphasized his desire to simplify the tax code so much that taxes could be filed on a piece of paper the size of a postcard.

“These are exactly the types of reforms I wanted to see in a tax reform plan, and now is our best opportunity to reignite the American Dream,” Smucker said in the statement. “I’m proud of the effort that went into this framework, and I look forward to the work that lies ahead.”

The outline unveiled Wednesday was not legislation, which officials have said will be developed over the coming months. Read more

Sept 27, 2017
Philly.com
GOP tax document reveals plan for massive tax cuts, preserves key deductions

WASHINGTON — Republican leaders on Wednesday proposed slashing tax rates for the wealthy, the middle class and businesses while preserving popular tax deductions that encourage buying homes and giving to charity, according to a nine-page framework they hope will eventually unify the party behind a proposal to revamp the U.S. tax code.

But the document, titled “Unified Framework For Fixing Our Broken Tax Code,” leaves many key questions unanswered. In it, the White House and Republican congressional leaders do not identify the numerous tax breaks they say will be removed to offset some of the trillions of dollars in revenue lost by cutting tax rates. Read more

Sept 26, 2017
Washington Examiner
The Senate’s $1.5 trillion tax cut is not what it seems

Senate Republicans have reached a deal that would allow for large net tax cuts as part of their budget document, but the agreement does not rule out the possibility of a revenue-neutral tax reform, one that raised as much revenue through elimination of loopholes and economic growth as it lost through lower rates.

Sen. Bob Corker, one of the parties to the deal, said Monday he has no intention of voting for an ultimate Republican tax bill that would add to federal deficits, even though some reports suggested that the deal would lead to the government losing $1.5 trillion in taxes over the next decade.

Instead, the Tennessee Republican said, the mysteriously detail-free deal he announced last week with fellow Budget Committee member Pat Toomey was meant to give “headroom parliamentarian-wise” for GOP senators to negotiate a tax bill within the constraints imposed by the Senate’s arcane procedural rules.

“There will be numbers of us, I would think, that would not want to vote for something that they viewed as going to increase the deficit,” said Corker, a self-styled fiscal conservative. Read more

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