GOP lawmakers struggle to close gaps in tax plan

Some of the top congressional Republicans are just racing to hammer out a final tax agreement by the end of the week but they are yet to make any breakthroughs on a range of key issues. Both the House and Senate negotiators bounced the proposals back and forth over the past weekend, but on Monday said that they still had to find compromises on where to set the rate of corporate tax, how to treat millions of businesses that are not set up as corporations and how much of a cut in the rate to allow for state and local taxes.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said that we speak of little else these days. On the House side, the Chairman of Ways and Means Kevin Brady deflected questions about an uncontrollable turn of potential trouble spots, which includes the estate tax, Alternative Minimum Tax and the fate of an existing law that prevents churches and other tax-exempt groups from openly politicking. When it was asked on Monday what differences between the House and Senate had been resolved, Sen. John Thune answered that nothing has really been resolved.

Thune added that he does not think that at this point of time anything has been nailed down. He mentioned that a member of the GOP leadership and the tax conference committee is working hard to settle the chambers' differences. He also said that the way it is shaping up at this moment he feels that they are getting close and every time where there is an exchange of offers the differences are narrowing down. The Republicans are hoping to get a final tax bill to the desk of US President Donald Trump by the 30th of December 2017 or even sooner if possible. This is according to a source that is quite familiar with the negotiations.

On Monday Brady said that he still expects a final vote in the coming week and a public meeting of the conference committee is scheduled for Wednesday. But at this point of time, compromise measure would still need to be vetted for making sure that it does not violate the strict rules of the Senate budget where a process that may start in the coming two days and could offer clues about what is in a final deal. On the other hand, the Republicans are facing increased pressure from Democratic lawmakers for slowing down the rapid conference process. Senate Democrats on the tax conference committee are demanding at least three public meetings on the merging of the House and Senate bills.

January 21, 2018 - 05:43
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