Susan Walsh/AP images
Bob Bryan Dec. 6, 2017, 3:49 PM
- Republicans in the House and Senate passed their versions of the tax bill at breakneck speed.
- Experts are now finding errors and loopholes in those versions.
- Members of a conference committee have been tasked with solving these issues and writing a compromise bill.
As Republicans hurtle toward making their massive tax plan into law, experts are starting to find a slew of errors they say are most likely the result of a rushed process.
Republicans have argued that the plan is the culmination of years of work. But the resulting bill has moved through both chambers of Congress at legislative light speed.
The House passed its version of the bill, named the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, two weeks after rolling it out. The Senate got its version through in three weeks — including one off for Thanksgiving.
Given the breakneck speed and last-minute dealmaking — Senate Republicans were making handwritten changes to the bill hours before passing it — it’s no surprise that experts have discovered complications in the immediate aftermath of the legislation’s passage.
Perhaps the biggest is in the Senate bill, which at the last minute kept intact the corporate alternative minimum tax.
The change was so sudden that some experts say the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’ official scorekeeper, may have understated its potential effect.
Lily Batchelder, a tax-law professor at New York University who was formerly a deputy director of the National Economic Council, tweeted on Tuesday that any change to the corporate AMT would significantly affect revenue.
Batchelder said that repealing the corporate AMT could cause a revenue shortfall of an additional $300 billion. That would force Republicans to find more revenue in other places — through taking away deductions or increasing rates, for example — to fit their tax bill into a specific budget window.
That’s not the only error
Politico’s Brian Faler noted that the bill would impose a new tax on university endowments but does not define them. Universities with large financial holdings have multiple accounts to generate income, but unclear which of those would qualify for the new tax.
Experts also noticed issues with the bill’s treatment of pass-through businesses and with a one-time tax on foreign profits of multinational corporations after the legislation passed.
Republicans are now convening a conference committee — made up of members of both chambers, mostly from the tax-bill-writing House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees — to hash out differences in the versions of the bill and work out the errors.
From there, the House and Senate would vote on the compromise bill. It is unclear how quickly that would happen, but House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Wednesday that the GOP was aiming to have tax legislation on President Donald Trump’s desk by Christmas.
NOW WATCH: Here’s what the Senate Republicans’ tax plan means if you’re making $25,000, $75,000, or $175,000 a year
CALL TO ACTION: INDIVISIBLE ENERGY AND RESISTANCE ARE NEEDED AGAIN, RIGHT NOW. THE “TAX REFORM AND JOBS ACT” MUST BE STOPPED AS IT COMES OUT OF CONFERENCE. IT’S ALREADY PASSED THE HOUSE AND SENATE ONCE, SO WE NEED TO BURY OUR LEGISLATORS WITH OBJECTIONS BEFORE THEY RAM IT THROUGH.
Why oppose the GOP tax plan? Well…
- The CBO is reporting that this plan could slash Medicare by $25 BILLION almost immediately and both Social Security and Medicare are on the block to make up for deficits predicted from this bill.
- This bill also repeals the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, leaving 13 million people without insurance and sending premiums skyrocketing. It would raise $4.5 trillion in part by cutting numerous deductions for individuals and repealing the personal exemption.
- It adds more than $1.4 trillion to the federal debt over 10 years.
- It repeals the alternative minimum tax, which primarily affects households with incomes from $200,000 to $1 million.
- Those making between $10,000 and $30,000 a year would pay more in taxes starting in 2021.
- By 2023, people with incomes less than $10,000 also would see tax increases.
- All other income categories — including those earning more than $1 million a year or more — would see tax decreases
- In 2027 taxes go up for every income group under $75,000 because the Senate Republican bill calls for tax cuts and other changes to the individual code to expire at the end of 2025
- The large cut in the corporate tax rate, to 20% from 35%, would be permanent under this bill.
Email, Call, FAX, Tweet every day until some level of equity is reached. (Contact information below the script.)
Here is a call script if it’s helpful:
Caller: Hello! My name is [NAME] and I’m calling from [part of North Carolina]. I’m calling to let Senator Burr/Tillis know that I strongly oppose the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the tribal partisanship surrounding it. This tax bill effectively ends the Affordable Care Act, and I insist that not happen. It will give massive cuts to the wealthy, paid for by leaving tens of thousands of people in North Carolina uninsured, raising insurance premiums, and raising taxes on middle-class families.
Staffer: The Senator is in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. He thinks it is important that we reform our broken, complex tax code so that middle-class families can benefit.
Caller: I agree- it is important. This tax bill as it’s written doesn’t help middle class families get ahead, though. Every single provision intended to help the middle-class expire, and lower middle-class families will pay more. But the corporate tax cuts are forever. Also, the CBO estimates that health insurance premiums will increase 10% more per year than they would without this bill and we know 13 million more people will be uninsured!
Staffer: I’ll pass your thoughts along to the Senator.
Caller: Thank you, please do. No response from the Senator is needed. I will see if he votes right versus left or right versus wrong so please let him know that his vote will affect mine.
Sen. Thom Tillis
Data, Information and Record: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/thom_tillis/412668
Web page: https://www.tillis.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/newsletter-signup#form_981CF0E6-2E72-48AB-9569-64D870510A59
Washington Office”: Phone: 202-224-6342; Fax: (202) 228-2563
Hendersonville Office: Phone: (828) 693-8750; Fax: (828) 693-9724
Sen. Richard Burr
Data, Information and Record: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/richard_burr/400054
Web page: http://www.burr.senate.gov/
Washington Office: Phone- (202) 224-3154; FAX: (202) 228-2981
Winston Salem Office- (800) 685-8916
Representative Mark Meadows, 11th Congressional District (28 western NC counties) Representative’s Data, Information and Record: ttps://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/mark_meadows/412552#; Web page: https://meadows.house.gov; Twitter: @RepMarkMeadows; Washington Office: Phone: 202-225-6401; Fax: (202) 226-6422; District Office, Henderson County: Phone: (82 in response to the pending deficit8) 693-5660; Fax: (828) 693-5603; County Offices: https://meadows.house.gov/contact/offices/county-off