After a one-day delay, House Republican leaders and tax panel members are slated to meet with Trump at the White House on Thursday afternoon to unveil their long-awaited plan to overhaul the country’s tax code.
The lawmakers are aiming to meet an ambitious deadline of approving a tax bill by the Nov. 23 Thanksgiving holiday. This would be the first time the tax code has been overhauled in more than 30 years.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that the “chaotic delay” of the tax bill’s release showed Republicans were “pushing a half-baked tax bill with ruinous consequences for workers and middle-class Americans.”
On Saturday, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady announced that he had already made one concession to calm concerns from northeast Republicans. He will maintain a key element of the tax write-off that allows individuals to deduct their state and local property taxes, as well as income or sales taxes, from their federal returns.
“At the urging of lawmakers, we are restoring an itemized property tax deduction to help taxpayers with local tax burdens,” Brady said in a released statement.
The measure will seek up to $6 trillion in tax cuts over 10 years.
Asked if the bill would contain a permanent corporate tax rate cut to 20 percent from 35 percent, Brady told reporters: “That’s our goal and I think it’s going to take several steps … to achieve that.”
Lobbyists said Republicans were having trouble reaching consensus on where to find revenue to pay for tax cuts and would likely have to make the corporate cut temporary as a result.
After a White House meeting with advisers, President Donald Trump told reporters: “Sometime tomorrow, we’ll be announcing massive tax cuts and reform.”
Representative Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) said he wanted “major changes” to preserve state and local tax deductibility. “I was encouraged when I heard Chairman Brady refer to the draft that’s about to get released as not being the final text,” he explained.
Trump tweeted out his advice on paying for the proposed tax cuts. “Wouldn’t it be great to Repeal the very unfair and unpopular Individual Mandate in ObamaCare and use those savings for further Tax Cuts,” he said in the Twitter post.
Afterward, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters that the administration still wanted to repeal and replace Obamacare, but added, “[W]e still think it’s probably more likely to do something like that in the spring.”
The tax overhaul plan originally called for reducing the number of tax brackets to three from seven, with the current top tax rate of 39.6 percent reduced to 35 percent, a win for high-income taxpayers.
However, after Democrats dismissed the plan as a giveaway to corporations and the wealthy, lawmakers are expected to restore a fourth 39.6 percent tax bracket but increase the income level where it applies, perhaps to $1 million, which would be more than double the current level.
The original proposal to repeal the estate tax on inheritances may be phased out.