The complications behind tax reform and cutting widely used tax breaks
Sep 17 2017 by Desiree Burns
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday left the door open on whether Republicans' tax overhaul would increase the nation's deficit or follow Republicans' long-standing principle that the cost of any legislation be offset by government spending cuts.
Ryan previously supported the so-called border adjustment tax to raise revenue to help pay for tax reform (the tax would have raised an estimated $1.2 trillion), and House Republicans said in the tax plan they released previous year that they envisioned the plan being revenue neutral.
The administration believes tax cuts will lead to much faster growth than do congressional analysts or most private forecasters, a likely fault line in the debate ahead. Trump, who was deeply disappointed by Republicans' failure to pass a health care overhaul, has shown a new willingness to work with Democrats in recent weeks, despite railing against them as "obstructionist".
This week has seen an intensification of activity on tax reform. That outline included slashing the corporate tax rate, simplifying the tax brackets that individuals and families face, and eliminating the estate tax and alternative minimum tax, among other things. But Republicans have already rejected revenue-raising options, including a border adjustment import tax and a carbon tax.
Republicans must agree upon a companion budget plan if the tax effort is to get off the ground.
Manchin says he does not expect the plan would target popular tax deductions for mortgage interest and charitable giving. But the failure of the GOP health-care legislation, which included a almost $1 trillion revenue cut, has scrambled party leaders' plans.
Trump hosted Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday evening to discuss tax overhaul plans and other legislative items. They aren't upending the drafting process to involve Democrats and have not welcomed any liberal tax policy ideas. "So it's really important that we fix the massive errors we have in our tax system", he said.
Manchin said he felt lowering taxes would help with the national debt because he said he felt it would make the nation more competitive.
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Ryan suggested that he is amenable to Trump's controversial proposal to build a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border saying: "I think a wall actually works".
"It needs to be changed", the moderate Democrat said. "Now it might not work out".
"The whole point here is an aggressive timeline to see tax reform done this year", Ryan told the Associated Press Wednesday.
Trump blindsided Republican leaders last week by striking a deal with Schumer and Pelosi on the USA debt limit and federal spending for three months.
Members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus reminded Ryan on Thursday that he promised the group when he ran for Speaker in 2015 he would not bring any immigration bill to the floor that didn't have the backing of the majority of his 240-member GOP conference.
There has been no comprehensive USA tax code overhaul since 1986, and starkly different visions embraced by the two parties for how to move forward promise to make the task hard. If they have to go higher, they'll go higher, frankly.