House Republicans on Wednesday made it clear they were not fans of a proposal by Sen. Bob Corker to include language in the Senate’s tax cut bill that would allow taxes to rise down the road if federal revenues fall and speed up the growth of the national debt.
“I’m going to let the Senate do it’s thing,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., told the Washington Examiner. “I’m not a big fan of triggers, however.”
Conservative Republicans leaving a House GOP meeting in the Capitol basement Wednesday said the plan had little chance of winning approval in the House, and said it would likely be stripped from the bill when the two chambers hammer out a compromise bill in a conference committee.
“I think it wouldn’t survive conference,” said Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz. “You can’t throw something out there like that where there would be automatic tax increases. There is a special level of insanity for that concept.”
Corker, R-Tenn., the Senate’s staunchest deficit hawk, said he believes Republicans in the Senate are receptive to his idea, which would raise taxes or eliminate deductions if the tax cut bill increased the deficit.
Republicans have argued their tax cut plan will increase economic growth enough to bring new money into the Treasury and forestall a deficit increase that might otherwise be created through tax cuts. Still, Corker plans to introduce the trigger proposal as an amendment to the Senate tax plan, which is up for a vote in the coming days.
Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, is one House lawmaker who said he is at least open to the trigger mechanism.
“It’s worthy of being considered, that’s all,” Barton told the Washington Examiner. “If you truly believe that tax cuts are going to grow the economy, you won’t need it.”
Barton said Republicans considered a similar trigger during debate over the tax cuts passed into law during the administration of former President George W. Bush. But they ultimately rejected the idea, and Barton is not sure whether House Republicans will agree to it this time.
“Let’s wait and see what the Senate does and then we’ll have that discussion,” Barton said.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said the two chambers will work out differences in the conference committee. Republicans, he said, are focused on pushing the Senate to pass a tax bill in any form.
“We’ll pick the best of the provisions when we go to conference,” Brady said. “The ball is in their court right now. We need to make sure they deliver as a Senate, this year.”