U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady (R-Texas) speaks during a news conference June 20, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The House Ways and Means Committee has unveiled the GOP's latest tax bill. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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What's in this bill?
This bill will
- make permanent an existing credit for railroad track maintenance;
- get rid of tax breaks for biodiesel and renewable diesel;
- extend some existing tax cuts that were set to expire, including excise tax credits for alternative fuel;
- revive some expired tax cuts, including ones related to renewable energy and motorsports;
- give additional tax breaks to start-up businesses;
- make updates to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, including fixing drafting errors and addressing part of that older law that prevents businesses from deducting sexual harassment payouts if a nondisclosure agreement is involved — the original version was seen as being detrimental to victims; and
- provide tax relief for people in disaster zones, including those affected by Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Michael, Typhoon Mangkhut, Typhoon Yutu, the Mendocino Wildfire, the Camp and Woolsey Wildfires, and the Kilauea volcanic eruption and earthquake. Typhoon Mangkhut swept through Guam and the Marshall Islands. Typhoon Yutu inflicted heavy damage on the Northern Mariana Islands. All three of these places are American territories.
House Republicans have not yet released an estimated tab for the tax package. Tax cuts can stimulate the economy, which can lead to more revenue for the government overall.
In a statement announcing the new bill, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said, “This broad, bipartisan package builds on the economic successes we continue to see throughout our country. The policy proposals in this package have support of Republicans and Democrats in both chambers. I look forward to swift action in the House to send these measures to the Senate.”
Brady claims to have the support of both parties in the House of Representatives.
The bill will likely face tougher sledding in the Senate. On Monday, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, had complained that House Republicans were not “negotiating with Democrats” on this bill.
What happens next?
The House Rules Committee is already scheduled to meet regarding this legislation on Wednesday. Once they're done, it will proceed to the floor of the House for a vote. From there, it will move to the Senate where it will need 60 votes to pass and be sent to President Donald Trump's desk.
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