House and Senate Republicans will take up separate tax reform proposals next week as they race to complete legislation by the end of the year.
The Senate kicks off its tax reform effort on Monday when it begins marking up the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which would provide $1.5 trillion in tax savings by cutting individual, small business and corporate tax rates.
Senate Republicans unveiled their proposal on Thursday to generally positive reviews from GOP lawmakers, although many complained that the plan delayed the corporate tax rate until 2019. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, suggested the legislation may change in his committee next week as lawmaker mark up the bill.
“This is just the start of the legislative process in the Senate,” Hatch said. “We expect robust committee debate on the policies in this bill, will have an open amendment process, and hope to report legislation by the end of the week. I’m confident that if we continue to allow each chamber the opportunity to work its will, we can easily reconcile our differences, making good on our promise to enact comprehensive tax reform that will lift our nation and increase the standard of living for Americans across the country.”
A different tax reform measure with the same name, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, will be on the House floor. Republican leaders plan to hold a vote on the measure by the end of the week.
The bill cleared the House Ways and Means Committee last week along partisan lines with a few changes, including the restoration of the deduction for adoptive parents.
The House measure is likely to pass, but it will lose the support of a faction of Republican lawmakers representing wealthier districts in high-tax states including California, New Jersey, and New York, where the legislation could raise taxes through the elimination of the state and local tax deduction.
House Democrats are likely to unanimously reject the House tax reform plan. Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Thursday he believes the proposal will “explode the debt and be a bait and switch on the middle class, where they will get a tax cut early and a tax increase later on.”
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told Hoyer a middle class family in Hoyer’s district would save $2,200 in taxes under the plan.
As the tax debate rages, the House will vote on legislation authorizing defense spending for 2018 while the Senate will begin a third week of dedicating floor time exclusively to the confirmation of Trump administration nominees.
The National Defense Authorization Act calls for $700 billion in defense spending, which is higher than both President Trump’s request and a mandatory federal budget cap.
The National Defense Authorization Act negotiated by the two Armed Services committees includes $634.2 billion in base spending as well as $65.7 billion for overseas military operations.
It also provides for a 2.4 percent pay raise for military personnel.
“I don’t know how much more we have to get you excited,” McCarthy told Hoyer. “Next week you’ll have the opportunity to decide.”
Senate lawmakers will vote on more Trump administration nominations next week, beginning with a vote Monday to confirm Derek Kan to serve as undersecretary on policy at the Department of Transportation.
The Senate is also expected to confirm Gill Bradbury to be General Counsel of the Department of Transportation, David G. Zatezalo to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, Joseph Otting to be Comptroller of the Currency, Donald Coggins, Jr. to be the U.S. District Judge for the District of South Carolina, and Dabney Langhorne Friedrich to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia.
Senate Republicans have been speeding through confirmations in recent weeks after complaints of a sluggish pace hindered in part by Democratic stalling tactics. Last week, senators confirmed more than a dozen nominees, many of them to serve as district attorneys and deputy secretaries.