A new, 10 percent middle-income tax cut is conditionally expected to be advanced in 2019, according to the House’s top tax writer. This timeline, although largely already expected on Capitol Hill, departs sharply from President Donald Trump’s original prediction that the measure would surface by November.
Middle-Income Tax Cut
President Donald Trump announced on October 22 that a new 10 percent tax cut would soon be unveiled that will focus specifically on middle-income taxpayers. “President Trump is determined to provide further tax relief for middle-class families,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., said in an October 23 statement. “We will continue to work with the White House and Treasury over the coming weeks to develop an additional 10 percent tax cut focused specifically on middle-class families and workers, to be advanced as Republicans retain the House and Senate,” Brady added.
Comment. Notably, Brady is essentially highlighting in his statement that any such additional tax cut measure would require a Republican majority for congressional approval. As November midterm elections near, there is “talk” on Capitol Hill that Republicans may lose control of the House.
The additional 10 percent tax cut for middle-income taxpayers would aim to build upon the individual tax cuts enacted last December under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97). To that end, the House passed a “Tax Reform 2.0″package last month, which would make permanent the TCJA’s individual and small business tax credits. The TCJA’s individual tax cut provisions were enacted temporarily through 2025 in accordance with certain Senate budget rules. Although the TCJA did not receive one Democratic vote, the Tax Reform 2.0 package did clear the House with some bipartisan support.
New Congress, New Tax Cut
“We expect to advance this in the new session of Congress if Republicans maintain control of the House and Senate,” Brady, said of the tax cut in an October 26 televised interview. However, President Trump said a couple of days before that a ” resolution” would be introduced for the tax cut by the week of October 29.
Democratic lawmakers have been criticizing Trump’s announcement as nothing more than politically-driven rhetoric ahead of the November 6 midterm elections. Several top congressional Democrats have voiced intent to repeal, at least in part, the TCJA enacted last December. While Republicans, on the other hand, want to continue building upon the TCJA’s tax cuts.
“What President Trump is looking at is a 10 percent cut focused on middle-class workers and families…he still believes middle-class families are the ones always in the squeeze,” Brady said on October 26. “We’ve been working with the White House and the Treasury on some ideas about how best to do it,” he added.
Trump has predicted that the tax cut will be net neutral. A chief complaint of last year’s tax reform among Democrats is the TCJA estimated $1.4 trillion price tag over a 10-year budget window.
“If you speak to Brady and a group of people, we’re putting in a tax reduction of 10 percent, which I think will be a net neutral because we’re doing other things, which I don’t have to explain now,” Trump said. A spokesperson for Brady has reportedly said that cost measures for the tax cut will be addressed once the proposal has been scored.
At this time, it is considered likely on Capitol Hill that Republicans will retain control of the Senate, but several predictions continue to float that the GOP will lose its House majority. Republicans would likely need to retain control of both chambers for any chance of approving further individual tax cuts or making permanent those enacted under the TCJA.
Although, the House approved its “Tax Reform 2.0” package last month, which includes measures to make permanent the TCJA’s individual tax cuts and enhance various savings accounts and business innovation, the Senate has showed little interest in taking up the package as a whole before the end of the year. However, consideration of the retirement and savings measure in the lame-duck session remains a possibility.