McConnell Backs Filibuster-Proof Tax Revamp; Brady Plans Bill

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By Aaron E. Lorenzo

Dec. 12 — Congressional Republicans continued talking up plans to pass tax revamp legislation swiftly next year, even with Capitol Hill seemingly quiet for the end-of-year recess.

They aim to be ready for President-elect Donald Trump.

Senate Republicans intend to overhaul taxes through reconciliation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Dec. 12, and parts of the House Republican tax proposal could get cemented in the coming days, according to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas).

Both represent steps toward making fast progress after Trump gets sworn in on Jan. 20.

“We anticipate doing two budget resolutions this year,” McConnell said at a news conference. “The first will be the Obamacare repeal resolution, and then we will do one later in the spring which will largely be dedicated to tax reform.”

That would pave the way to a partisan path that bypasses Senate Democrats.

Reconciliation refers to a fast-track process that allows the Senate’s majority party to pass legislation from a budget resolution without interference from the minority party, which otherwise could block bills without support from 60 or more senators.

First 100 Days

Brady plans to have a tax bill ready for Trump in his first 100 days in office, should Trump decide to prioritize taxes that early in his term, Brady said on a Fox Business interview.

He and fellow Republicans on the panel will meet Dec. 14-15 “to actually reflect on all the feedback we’ve gotten about the tax reform plan, make some of those decision points going forward, make sure we’re on track in the writing of it,” Brady said. Legislation is being crafted ahead of Inauguration Day.

Brady, who has a meeting scheduled for Dec. 13 with Trump’s transition team, has said the House GOP tax plan, based on a blueprint debuted in June, overlaps with 80 percent of tax ideas on which Trump campaigned.

“From the House Republican standpoint, we don’t know yet what his first 100-day agenda will be exactly, but on tax reform, on replacing Obamacare, on all the economic issues, we’re going to be ready for him,” Brady said in another interview on MSNBC.

Scoring Goals

McConnell said the tax changes shouldn’t add debt to the federal deficit, something Brady has also said, though he has insisted that such revenue neutrality should factor in the broader economic effects of the tax changes.

International pressures have pushed the tax revamp issue to the forefront, McConnell said. The current tax structure prompts companies to move abroad or else face domestic taxes that are simply too high.

Brady has pitched the international component of the House Republican plan to tax imports and exempt exports as a solution, but that part of the overall proposal has generated some pushback.

“We’re all worried about and concerned about offshoring of U.S. jobs,” McConnell said. “It’s an uncompetitive situation.”

Trump is committed to addressing tax issues and over-regulation, both of which have hindered U.S. economic growth, McConnell said. Republicans in the Senate and House share the same view, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron E. Lorenzo in Washington at aaron@bna.com

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

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