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By Kaustuv Basu
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) released an outline of the 2.0 tax cut package to House members today, as he gathers information from lawmakers on what they would like to see in the legislative package.
The two-page outline has three main themes: making permanent the small business and individual tax cuts in the 2017 tax law (Pub. L. No. 115-97); promoting savings through retirement accounts, a universal savings account, and expanded education savings accounts; and boosting innovation by helping “brand-new businesses write off more of their initial start-up costs, and remove barriers to growth.”
The document said that Tax 2.0 would create a new universal savings account that is a flexible savings tool and expand tax code Section 529 education accounts so that taxpayers can use them to pay for apprenticeships to learn a trade, home schooling, and student debt. It would also let families withdraw money from their retirement accounts without a penalty when they welcome “a new child into the family, whether by birth or adoption.”
The contents of the actual package remain in flux as members lobby for their own ideas and as Republican leaders keep an eye out for members who appear vulnerable in the November midterm elections and could be helped with some popular legislation.
Brady is set to move forward with the package in September with a committee vote. The tax measures are seen by many as a political tool to buoy the fortunes of GOP House members in the midterm elections. However, some elements—such as making retirement savings more attractive—could find Senate support and have better prospects in Congress.
Ways and Means ranking minority member Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) said the tax cut bills were more about politics than policy. Neal said he wasn’t for linking the retirement issue to the tax package. “Retirement is too important and I think there is some room here for bipartisanship,” he said.
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