July 15, 2017 - Douglas Myser

GOP tax reform. The Trump administration and congressional Republicans are working toward unifying around a single GOP tax reform bill, aiming to pass the legislation this year. But there are still some key differences between the priorities of the White House and the Senate that need to be ironed out. Speaker Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.) and House and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) have said that Republicans agree on about 80 percent of a IRS tax reform package. But working through that final 20 percent could take some time. Here are five GOP tax reform issues that Republicans need to resolve. GOP tax reform.

How long should tax changes last ?  House GOP leaders on tax reform are pushing for the changes to be permanent, but some senators and administration officials have expressed openness to temporary tax changes. Procedural rules play into this debate. If Republicans want to pass a tax reform bill under "reconciliation" to bypass a Democratic filibuster in the Senate the legislation can't increase the deficit outside of the budget window. As a result, a tax bill either needs to be revenue neutral--meaning that it won't increase the deficit--or make the tax cuts on only a temporary basis.

But some GOP Senators are more interested in producing legislation with a net tax cut, which could  mean making the cut temporary under reconciliation. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) suggested in a Bloomberg View op-ed earlier this month that Congress could extend the budget window from the traditional 10 years to 20 or 30 years to enact longer lasting tax cuts. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney have said they are willing to consider lengthening the budget window. And Mnunchin has said that short term IRS tax cuts are preferable to no tax cuts at all. "Permanent is better than temporary and temporary is better than nothing," he said at a hearing on Wednesday. Republicans agree that they want to lower tax rates. But GOP tax reform put forward by House Republicans and the White House diverge on how low to set tax rates for both individuals and businesses.

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