After House Republicans failed to secure enough votes to proceed with legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last week, President Trump signaled that the Administration was prepared to move on with tax reform as the next big item on the policy agenda.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said in a statement that Republican committee members “are moving full speed ahead with President Trump on the first pro-growth tax reform in a generation.” Chairman Brady has been spearheading work on draft tax reform legislation in the House based on a blueprint released in June 2016.
However, quick action is unlikely. Ways and Means Committee members suggest that a draft ready for release is probably still weeks away, at least. The Trump Administration is also reportedly working on its own tax reform framework with plans to reveal details this spring.
Further complicating reform efforts is the sheer reality of numbers. Republican leaders were counting on the repeal of taxes from the Affordable Care Act to help shrink the baseline needed to enact many of the rate cuts and policy changes proposed in the initial blueprint. Now, they may be faced with tougher choices on substantive policy priorities that could limit the size of any reform package. The Senate may also prove to be a stumbling block as Senate Republicans have disagreements with House Republicans on some key policy issues that may be essential for passage in either chamber.
Despite a complicated path forward, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that while new circumstances make tax reform harder, they do not make it “impossible.”
“We will proceed with tax reform, we will continue with tax reform,” Ryan said.
Independent Sector and its partners have been engaging with the House and Senate tax-writing committees over the past year to discuss the importance of preserving and finding opportunities to expand incentives for charitable giving to all taxpayers as part of tax reform.
Polling data recently commissioned by IS found that that 75 percent of American voters want to expand the charitable deduction to taxpayers who do not itemize on their taxes.
Jamie Tucker is the director, public policy strategy and operations at Independent Sector.