Hill Roundtable: Senate Action, House Hearing

The Senate was bustling this week as members began meeting on a new health-care plan.   

A group of 13, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) met for the first time May 8 to hash out tweaks to the House health-care bill, with some senators saying they plan to rewrite the bill entirely. Republicans can afford to lose two votes and still pass a measure, a hurdle they say the bill wouldn’t meet in its current state.  

The Senate also made tax reform news this week. When Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Economic Adviser Gary Cohn met with senators to talk tax reform, they came out against border adjustment, Hatch said. The provision of House Republicans’ tax proposal, which would tax imports and exempt exports, is one of the main sticking points in the plan--some Senate Republicans pan it and some House Republicans hesitate to back it without White House support. Hatch also said Mnuchin wants to keep interest deductibility, something the House has floated as a way to help pay for proposed tax cuts.   

But don’t forget about the other side of the Capitol. The House Ways and Means Committee announced a May 19 hearing on economic activity and job growth—its first hearing officially tied to tax reform. Members may use the hearing to gauge where Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) stands on more controversial elements of the plan, such as the border adjustment provision.   

Stay tuned next week to hear the outcome of the hearing, and learn the biggest takeaways from the American Bar Association Section of Taxation conference.

Check out Talking Tax’s podcast on the latest tax news from Capitol Hill.