Via The Courier
U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady says he remains confident that Congress will agree on an overhaul of the nation’s tax code, especially now that the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives has taken what GOP leaders are describing as a major step in revising the nation’s tax system. Brady, R, The Woodlands, told The Courier on Friday the GOP tax overhaul is “on schedule” to be on the president’s desk by the end of the year.
Brady made his comments while he was in Conroe to donate blood at the Conroe VA Medical Clinic. Just the day before the U.S. House of Representatives approved a budget plan that sets spending at $4.1 trillion. Passage of the budget by the House also sets the stage for the tax overhaul by satisfying certain procedural demands.
“It provides the rules for tax reform, for the first tax reform in 30 years,” Brady said of the House budget plan.
“That’s why it’s important. Now it goes to the Senate. We expect them to make changes in their budget, and that’s fine.”
The Republican goal behind the rules is to prevent Democrats in the Senate from blocking the tax overhaul by using a filibuster. Instead, a simple majority would prevail in the Republican-dominated Senate. The GOP has long been lining up for a fight from Democrats who argue the proposed tax plan cuts taxes for the rich and to corporations, while hurting the poor and middle class.
“By voting for this shockingly extreme budget proposal House Republicans had said loud and clear that they care more about giving giant tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporations than supporting or growing our economy,” Kentucky Democrat John Yarmuth said in a statement.
Locally, Marc Meyer, chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party, has described Republican talk of fixing the tax code as an “euphemism for cutting taxes on the wealthy.”
“All things considered, if this was just an opening salvo by the Republicans, I might consider that we could negotiate from this point to something reasonable maybe,” Meyer said in an email. “But this is being offered essentially as a take it or leave it (or negotiate downwards on rates, etc.). I don’t see the “tax reform” as fiscally responsible, nor do I see it as stimulating growth and the only reason that “tax reform” has been proposed with the budget is to try to pass it under reconciliation rules in the Senate rather than under regular order.”
Still, even with Republicans and Democrats at odds over the tax overhaul, Brady said Friday he’s hopeful that once the Senate approves its version of the budget plan, that the House and Senate will be able to reconcile their differences by the end of the month. Once the budget is finally approved, lawmakers will begin debate on the GOP tax plan.
“Right now we’re on schedule to get this to the president’s desk by the end of the year,” Brady said. “I visited with him yesterday (Thursday) by phone about the timetable and the importance of staying on track to finish by the end of the year. And right now we are.”
If, as Brady expects, Republicans are successful in getting their tax plan through Congress, it would be the first major overhaul of the nation’s tax since Ronald Reagan signed a tax reform package into law in 1986.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.