House Republicans plan to advance a major tax reform bill next week, while GOP senators hope to repeat last week's successful effort at confirming President Trump's nominees.
The tax plan unveiled on Thursday will be taken up by the House Ways and Means Committee, where some GOP lawmakers believe it could be changed to soften the impact of killing off a slew of popular tax deductions.
Several lawmakers representing high-tax districts in New York and New Jersey are seeking to increase a proposed $10,000 cap on the property tax deduction to $12,500. Other lawmakers, including influential House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., want to broaden the scope of a lower business tax.
Meadows and other conservative lawmakers will also push to include a provision that would eliminate the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
“This initial draft will not be the final draft,” Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., told reporters.
The Senate is also preparing its own tax bill, and it could be released as early as next week.
Senate Republicans said they plan to have their tax bill ready by Thursday’s expected passage of the House plan in the Ways and Means Committee
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told the Washington Examiner to expect “significant differences” between the Senate and House tax reform proposals.
Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, would not commit to backing all of the elements in the House plan.
One GOP lawmaker told the Washington Examiner the Senate is poised to accept the GOP’s doubling of the estate tax cap to $22 million. But rather than phase it out entirely as the House plan prescribes, the Senate bill would leave the estate tax in place, but with a higher cap.
While the Senate works behind the scenes on tax legislation, the floor time will be used to confirm President Trump’s remaining unfilled Cabinet positions.
Lawmakers will vote on Steven Andrew Engel, nominated to serve as assistant attorney general; Peter B. Robb of Vermont, who was picked to take over as general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board; William L. Wehrum to serve as assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and Derek Kan, who is nominated to become under secretary of transportation for policy.
Last week, Republicans warned Democrats they would work through the weekend in order to push through President Trump's judicial nominees, and the gambit worked — Democrats relented and allowed several to get votes.
The House will also pass a few business-friendly bills. It will vote on the Hydropower Policy Modernization Act, which aims to boost energy infrastructure by making it easier to obtain licenses for hydropower projects.
The House will also vote on the Save Local Businesses Act, a bill that would clarify and simplify the joint employer standard, which the GOP argues has been complicated under Obama-era regulations and has hurt small businesses.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the bill would “ensure small businesses and franchises across the country receive fair government treatment, rather than confusing regulations that harm workers.” Democrats oppose the bill and argue the regulation protects worker rights by ensuring companies do not evade requirements under the National Labor Relations Act.
The House also plans to consider the Micro Offering Safe Harbor Act, which would clarify federal regulations to help small businesses raise capital, the legislation's sponsor Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., said.
“By simply clarifying an old law, more small businesses will raise capital through nonpublic offerings, easing the burdens of red tape, onerous paperwork, and the threat of lawsuits,” Emmer said.