Politics

Ryan Promises Vote This Year to Make Individual Tax Cuts Permanent

Hoyer suggests most Democrats would oppose such a measure if not offset

Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, right, and Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., leave a news conference in the House studio where they discussed the GOP’s tax law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Taxes were the talk of Congress Tuesday, the deadline for taxpayers to file returns for 2017, with Republicans messaging on the tax overhaul they passed last year and Speaker Paul D. Ryan promising a vote this year on a measure to make the individual tax cuts permanent.

“We fully intend to make these things permanent and that’s something we’ll be acting on later this year,” Ryan said of the individual tax rate reductions. Taxpayers will begin using the new rate structure in the 2018 filing season, but absent congressional action the individual rates will expire after 2025. 

Democrats used “Tax Day,” as the filing deadline is called, to criticize the GOP tax law for their view that it benefits corporations and the wealthy over the middle class. Some in the party called on Congress to repeal the law, suggesting Democrats would attempt to do so if they were to retake the House and/or Senate.

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However, other Democrats stopped short of pushing full repeal. 

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, for example, said Democrats would certainly look at changes to the law if they get in the majority but noted there are positive elements that Democrats support like a lower corporate tax rate and provisions that encourage multinationals to repatriate offshore earnings. 

However, the 21 percent corporate tax rate in the bill is “too low,” the Maryland Democrat said, declining to offer a proposal for a more appropriate rate. 

Hoyer suggested most Democrats would oppose the bill Republicans want to move this year to make the individual tax cuts permanent but stopped short of saying leadership would whip against it.

“Let’s see what they do,” he said. “But if they’re going to create more debt and they’re not going to pay for it, I think we can show the American people that’s a shell game.”

The bill is likely to pass the House but fail in the Senate. Republicans know this but want to put vulnerable Democrats on record on the issue, hoping they can campaign against them for voting against permanent tax relief. 

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