The Hill: WATCH: Sticky points remain for bipartisan tax reform deal

September 28, 2017
In The News

GOP leaders touted “unity” behind a tax reform framework Wednesday, but the effort is likely to face many hurdles working with a president seeking bipartisan buy-in.

Despite two White House meetings with bipartisan House members this month, one Democratic lawmaker questions the sincerity of President Trump’s effort after GOP leaders held a private “retreat” to review the framework. 

“Unfortunately, Speaker [Paul] Ryan [R-Wis.] excluded every single Democrat from the GOP tax reform retreat today ... If Speaker Ryan wants to repeat the failures of ObamaCare repeal by just doing it on partisan basis he could try that with tax reform, but what the American people want is bipartisanship,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tells The Hill.

Fellow Democrat and Ways and Means Committee member Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.), who attended a  bipartisan meeting Tuesday with the president, tells The Hill that he believes Trump wants to help the middle class but questions whether the president’s plan will spur economic growth. 

Among Republicans, concerns for the elimination of the state and local tax deduction puts moderate GOP lawmakers from highly-taxed states like New York, New Jersey and California in a political bind.

As the negotiations move ahead, California GOP Rep. Darrell Issa would not reveal his official position on eliminating the deduction but tells The Hill that it all comes down to the details.

“What we want to do is ask the question: As a taxpayer, am I getting a reasonable overall deal if you take away my 13 percent, my deduction [is] 13 percent in California's tax, but if you lower my tax rate, it might be the exact same amount of money and incentivize me to invest … it might actually mean that I change what I do to get lower taxes and then benefit our society,” Issa said.

Regardless of the differences, GOP lawmakers from opposite ends of the spectrum agree that with health care’s failure, it’s imperative for Congress to reform taxes or face the consequences.

“We need a big win here. Tax reform is essential. It’s like pouring gasoline on the economy, if we get it right, in good way … We have to learn from the rollout of health care, (the) rollout was poor, so hopefully we’re going to learn from that and get this thing done,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said.