President Donald Trump and the House’s top tax writer think Congress and the president should work to make the tax code better every year. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., said in an interview that he and the president share this goal and are looking toward to tax reform “phase two.”
Tax Reform Phase Two
“Phase two is about building off the success of phase one,” Brady said. “We shouldn’t settle for just an excellent start…we [Trump and Brady] think every year Congress and the President ought to be working to make our tax code even better,” he added. Brady touted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), enacted in December 2017, for creating jobs and increasing paychecks at the fastest rate in more than a decade.
It is important to see a vote on another tax bill before midterm elections in November, according to Brady. The tax bill will likely include making permanent individual tax cuts, which are currently temporary under the TCJA, he said. “This is just 2.0, and I hope there is a 3.0 and 4.0, so we continue to improve.”
Another tax bill this year would likely face an uphill battle in the Senate, according to several lawmakers. Under Senate rules, a bill not using a budget resolution as a legislative vehicle, as was used with the TCJA, would need Democratic support for Senate approval.
While Democrats continue to criticize the TCJA, a Republican lawmaker has seemingly agreed with Democrats, at least in part. “Yesterday, Republican Marco Rubio underscored what we have been saying: the GOP Tax Scam is overwhelmingly rewarding the top one percent,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a May 1 tweet. Pelosi, along with her Democratic colleagues, has frequently criticized the TCJA for benefiting wealthy Americans.
Pelosi was referencing statements made by Marco Rubio, R-Fla., that there is no evidence that corporations’ tax benefits under the new law help American workers. “There is still a lot of thinking on the right that if big corporations are happy, they’re going to take the money they’re saving and reinvest it in American workers,” Rubio said. “In fact, they bought back shares; a few gave out bonuses; there’s no evidence whatsoever that the money’s been massively poured back into the American worker.”
Rubio is likely correct that lowering the corporate tax rate has not caused wages to rise significantly since the TCJA was enacted, according to Scott Greenberg, senior analyst at the Tax Foundation. “The case for why business tax changes affect workers is about the long run, not the short run,” Greenberg said on Twitter, responding to Rubio’s statements on the TCJA.