Budget & Taxes

Trump’s Tax Plan Is Already Unpopular

First Read: “House Republicans are facing a major disadvantage with their tax plan, even before they delayed the rollout of their bill by one day.”

“Their plan starts out underwater, according to our latest NBC/WSJ poll — and by about the same margin as the poll’s first track of George W. Bush’s failed effort to partially privatize Social Security.”

“In this new NBC/WSJ poll, 25% call Trump’s tax plan a good idea, versus 35% who call it a bad idea (-10). And nearly four-in-10 Americans — 39% — do not have an opinion.”

Pro-Trump Group Plans Massive Campaign for Tax Bill

“One of the biggest pro-Trump outside groups of 2016, backed by the Adelson and Ricketts families, plans to spend ‘eight figures’ — at least $10 million — backing tax reform,” according to Axios.

“The size of the spend — from some of the most important donors in the party — is correlated to the stakes: Republicans know this is existential for them. If they fail to pass tax reform on the heels of failing to repeal Obamacare, the GOP could might as well be renamed R.I.P.”

Tax Bill Is Only Going to Get Harder

“House Republicans delayed the rollout of their tax bill late on Tuesday, in a sign of early trouble for what party leaders had hoped would be a quick victory,” the New York Times reports.

Playbook: “Republicans want you to think this delay isn’t a big deal. And, in many ways, it’s not. Massive bills — and this one will be 1,000-plus pages — are hard and they take time. That’s why it was nonsensical that the White House wanted this done before the end of the year. (Although clearing this before year end would allow another run at health care in early 2018.) And, from a practical standpoint, this isn’t a big setback. The rollout is delayed by one single day.”

“Tax reform isn’t a walk in the park. This is only going to get harder. Remember: we haven’t seen a single detail yet. Not one. The delay helps highlight that this is a long, arduous and tricky process.”

GOP Tax Bill Delayed

“The release of the Republican tax bill is being delayed until Thursday,” Axios reports.

“The delay of the scheduled release, by the House Ways and Means Committee, reveals the difficulties the team has had in resolving how to raise enough money to pay for the massive corporate tax cuts.”

Republicans Scramble to Finalize Tax Bill

“House Republicans are racing to finalize their tax reform proposal before its much-anticipated rollout Wednesday morning. But so many key details have yet to be finalized that some congressional sources worry the unveiling may have to be postponed,” Politico reports.

“House Ways and Means Committee members spent all Tuesday holed up in conference rooms trying to iron out last-minute disagreements. Senior committee staff worked through the night Monday and were expected to do the same on Tuesday.”

House Bill Won’t Include State Income Tax Deduction

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said the GOP tax legislation due to be released this week will not include a deduction for state and local income taxes and will offer relief only on property taxes, Reuters reports.

Said Brady: “Our lawmakers in those high-tax states really believe their families are being punished most by property taxes.”

Collins Lays Out Her Demands for Tax Bill

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told Bloomberg that “she’s opposed to two tax breaks for the wealthy that her party leaders are pushing for, indicating that her vote won’t be easy to win on President Trump’s top legislative priority.”

Said Collins: “I do not believe that the top rate should be lowered for individuals who are making more than $1 million a year. I don’t think there’s any need to eliminate the estate tax.”

GOP Plans to Push Tax Bill at Breakneck Speed

Wall Street Journal: “The plan is to keep the tough trade-offs in the bill secret until after Halloween, then reach Thanksgiving with bills passed by the House and Senate and hit New Year’s Day with a bill on Mr. Trump’s desk. That’s close to financial-crisis speed, pushing Congress into a kind of emergency lawmaking mode it typically uses only when inaction means cataclysm.”

Jonathan Swan: “The politically correct term for that timetable is ambitious; another adjective might be insane.”

“The best thing Republicans have going for them is that they simply have to get tax reform done. It’s now a question of survival after they failed so spectacularly to repeal Obamacare after seven years of promises.”

House GOP Abandons Conservative Playbook

“House Republicans are so desperate for a win on taxes that they’re agreeing to proposals that would have caused internal party warfare just a year or two ago,” Politico reports.

“They’re considering forgoing a big cut in the top income tax rate on the rich, offering moderate-income Americans so many tax breaks that many would be excused from paying taxes entirely and passing a potentially 1,000-page tax bill few have seen within a matter of weeks. Last week, they agreed to a budget that ignored their demands for deep cuts in federal spending just so they could pass a tax bill using a special procedure that enables them move forward without any Democratic votes.”

GOP Tax Bill Shrouded In Secrecy

“Rank-and-file House Republicans are increasingly alarmed by the secrecy shrouding the massive tax bill their party leaders plan to ram through Congress next month,” Politico reports.

“Just days ahead of the legislation’s release, GOP members of the House Ways and Means Committee are still in the dark on numerous details being ironed out by the powerful tax-writing committee’s chairman, Kevin Brady (R-TX), and his staff. And they’re blaming the panel’s top-down approach for the uncertainty.”

Now Comes the Hard Part of Tax Reform

New York Times: “The Republican race to overhaul the tax code broke into a sprint on Thursday, with House members narrowly clearing a budget blueprint that would allow a tax bill to pass Congress without any Democratic votes, and Senate leaders signaling that the bill could be introduced, debated and approved in both chambers by the end of November.”

“Those ambitions are already complicated by difficult math, both in terms of tax revenues and vote counts. The budget vote put those competing factors on display, with 20 Republicans defecting and the resolution narrowly passing, 216 to 212, in part over concerns about the possible elimination of a tax break that disproportionately benefits residents of high-tax states. A potential reduction in contribution limits for 401(k) retirement accounts also appears to be stoking an intraparty fight.”

House Freedom Caucus Proves It’s a Deficit Scam

Stan Collender: “The House Freedom Caucus — that self-professed paragon of fiscal rectitude and righteousness that in the past has opposed emergency relief aid for Americans devastated by natural disasters unless it was offset with spending cuts — today made it much easier for the multi-trillion dollar increase in the federal deficit and national debt that will be caused by the Trump tax cut to be enacted.”

“HFC could have completely stopped this from happening had it opposed the fiscal 2018 budget resolution when it was considered by the House this morning. That budget resolution will increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion or more and didn’t include the spending cuts HFC said was the price for its support when the House adopted its budget earlier this month.”

“But instead of deficit purity, the House Freedom Caucus didn’t oppose the budget resolution, as it has so many other deficit- and debt-increasing bills.”

No Real Deadline for Tax Reform

Playbook: “There really is no deadline to get tax reform done. The end-of-the-year proclamations are silly, according to most of the people we talk to. This could — and many think it should — take time. It’s tough (just ask the WSJ’s Rich Rubin). It’s complicated. Congress is rewriting the entire tax code — and that affects everyone in the United States. Plenty of lawmakers tell us it should take something like six months.”

“At the end of the day, all the senior aides and lawmakers we speak to say that this remains, at best, a 60-40 proposition. Yeah, Republicans feel pretty good about where things are. But that’s mostly out of fear of losing their majorities. Many things can stop this process dead in its tracks.”

Key takeaway: “Until Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell pull the plug, this thing is alive and kicking.”

Low Support for Trump’s Tax Plan

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that fewer than a third of Americans support President Trump’s tax-cut plan.

“As the 2018 midterm congressional election campaigns grow nearer, the poll found that more than two-thirds of registered voters said reducing the U.S. federal budget deficit is more important than cutting taxes for the wealthy or for corporations.”

House GOP Scrambles for Fix Before Budget Vote

“House Republican leaders are in a mad dash to resolve a dispute between GOP tax writers and Republicans from high-tax states that has the potential to make Thursday’s budget vote a real nail-biter,” Politico reports.

“A handful of New York Republicans, along with a New Jersey lawmaker, are threatening to vote against the budget unless GOP leaders retreat from plans to eliminate a key federal deduction that people can take for the state and local taxes they pay.”