Hill Briefs: W&M Names Members; Dems Pick Chief of Staff

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By Aaron E. Lorenzo and Kim Chipman

Three new GOP faces joined the House Ways and Means Committee: Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) and David Schweikert (R-Ariz.).

The House Republican Steering Committee picked them Jan. 4.

They fill a trio of vacancies left by Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) following his election to the upper chamber; retiring Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.), who lost a bid for the Senate; and former Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.), who lost his House seat.

Still up in the air is a replacement for Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), whom President-elect Donald Trump has picked to run the Department of Health and Human Services. Price won’t leave the House until his nomination is confirmed, after which his slot will get filled.

New Democrats on the committee are expected to be named later this week.

In Other Personnel News

Speaking of those across the Ways and Means aisle, ranking member Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) named Brandon Casey the new Democratic chief of staff for the committee.

Casey has served as tax counsel and legislative director for Neal since 2013. Before that, Casey was tax counsel for former Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), from 2010 until 2013.

“From tax policy to trade issues, Brandon has gained a wealth of knowledge here in the House of Representatives, and I am confident he will be an effective leader for our committee staff moving forward,” Neal said in a statement.

In Other Bill News

Tax overhaul legislation from a House Republican is on the way, though it won’t come from a Ways and Means Committee member.

But the legislation sounds similar to the House GOP blueprint. Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), plans to release a series of bills based on legislation he introduced in the last Congress (H.R. 2842, 2946, 3017, 3083, 3213 and 3267) that would reduce federal individual, corporate, payroll and capital gains taxes; permit 100 percent expensing of fixed assets; allow permanent repatriation at 5 percent; repeal the inheritance tax; and keep last-in, first-out accounting.

“It’s a small business perspective on tax reform,” Williams said in a statement, “and it will benefit every American individually and our nation as a whole.”

A Costly Cut, Estimated

Repealing taxes tied to the Affordable Care Act would cost $800 billion, according to an estimate from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

That means that repealing the ACA’s coverage and revenue provisions would save about $750 billion through 2027, based on conventional scoring, because only repealing the law’s coverage provisions would save an estimated $1.55 trillion. But getting rid of the ACA’s Medicare cuts would subtract about $1.1 trillion, meaning outright repeal would cost $350 billion under conventional scoring, or $200 billion less when accounting for economic growth.

About half of the revenue loss from eliminating ACA taxes would come from removing the 3.8 percent surtax on investment income above the same threshold, equal to about $250 billion, and the 0.9 percent Medicare payroll surtax on wages above $200,000, worth about $150 billion.

Child Credit Expansion Sought

Legislation to widen the tax credit for child care has been reintroduced.

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D- N.Y.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) re-released a bill aimed at expanding the child care tax credit and providing other assistance to help families afford child care.

The Right Start Child Care and Education Act would help the tax credit that dates to 1976 catch up to modern costs of child care, the sponsors said in a news release. Senate Democrats have also introduced the same legislation in the last two Congresses.

To contact the reporters on this story: Aaron E. Lorenzo in Washington at aaron@bna.com and Kim Chipman in Chicago at kchipman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Meg Shreve at mshreve@bna.com

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