House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, plans to begin circulating a draft version of further tax cuts legislation this summer, but only among his Republican colleagues. He envisions tax reform 2.0 as a package of three or four bills, instead of a single piece of legislation like the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that Congress passed last December.
“The timeline will be to begin circulating a draft to our House Republicans after we return from the Fourth of July break,” he told Washington Post reporter Robert Costa on Tuesday, to mark the six-month anniversary of the passage of the tax overhaul. “We’ll spend the month listening to our colleagues in the House about what they want to see in 2.0 and incorporating those changes. I expect to see the legislative outline released in early August with votes in the fall depending on when the leadership wants to schedule them. I don’t see it as one bill I see it as a package of two, three, or four approaches with permanency being one of them. This tax code is huge and there are areas, for example in retirement savings, that we didn’t get to in tax reform.”
The various components of the package could include tax provisions related to retirement, health care and education. Brady sees tax reform as an ongoing process and doesn’t want to see 30 years elapse, as it did between the time of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Instead, reforms could occur every year.
“We think the time is right to help families save more and earlier in their life whether it’s for health care or school or for their kids or retirement in the long-term—thinking through some ideas there,” Brady told Costa. “A point I’ll make is that 2.0 is really about changing the culture in Washington, away from ‘Wait 30 years for tax reform, watch America fall behind our competitors, watch this tax code get junked up by a bunch of special interest provisions.’ That was the old way. The new culture is to continuously improve every year, to never fall behind our competitors again.”
He wants to Congress to take a look at improving the tax code each year.
“What I’ve asked our colleagues to do is to mirror what we know the most successful corporations do, which is … they wake up every day and ask ‘How can we be more competitive or innovative better?’” he said. “I want Congress to look at the tax code every year and ask themselves the same three questions: How do we be more competitive, innovative, better?”
Costa asked Brady if the Senate will follow through in the fall if the House passes legislation this summer. Brady acknowledged that the Senate won’t be able to use the reconciliation procedure that allowed them to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last December without any votes from Democrats.
“I think the House’s job is to develop the best package to send to the Senate,” Brady responded. “I think the Senate is vitally interested in what can get 60 votes that they can pass because we won’t have the reconciliation structure. Unfortunately we won’t have the reconciliation in place because of the budget. So, our job is to deliver the very best ideas, and I’m confident Leader [Mitch] McConnell and Senate Republicans will choose those areas they have the most interest in and let’s move something to the president’s desk.”
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