President Donald Trump has announced his desired timeline for the passage of tax reform legislation, indicating that it could come act as a gift to Americans just in time for holiday festivities.
Speaking with industry leaders on Tuesday, the president declared he wants to have a tax bill sitting on his desk by Christmas.
“I want the House to pass a bill by Thanksgiving. I want all the people standing by my side when we get ready to sign by Christmas, hopefully before Christmas,” Trump stated.
The aggressive timeline the president is asking for came a day before congressional Republicans were set to introduce their tax legislation. On Tuesday night, though, the plan’s release was pushed back one more day until Thursday.
Shooting for a swift process, House Republicans expected a committee markup to take place on Nov. 6. Their goal is to push the legislation through the lower chamber by Thanksgiving, The Hill reported.
Senate Republicans also plan to pass the tax reform package by the end of November, giving Trump’s call to have a bill ready to sign by Christmas a realistic objective.
Trump promised the signing ceremony would “be the biggest tax event in the history of our country.”
Following repeated failures to pass Obamacare repeal, congressional Republicans are looking at tax reform as their best option at enacting a major policy item in 2017. The GOP has been criticized for not passing any major bills, despite controlling both chambers of Congress and the White House.
While all the minute details of the bill won’t be released until Thursday, a general outline of the reform package has been discussed among lawmakers.
Republicans will be pushing for individual, corporate and international tax reform. Most changes pertain to lowering rates and simplifying the tax code entirely.
Last week, by a fairly narrow vote, House Republicans passed a budget resolution that allows a fast track process for tax reform — meaning that the bill can be passed by a simple vote and not be subjected to a 60-vote threshold.
A vast majority of the GOP caucus supports the bill and wants to see the tax code simplified. But many Republicans from Democrat-led, high-tax states are unsettled about the bill because of provisions eliminating tax deductions — something taxpayers in places like New York and California enjoy as a way to mitigate the exorbitant tax rates in their states.
The state and local tax deduction, or SALT deduction, allows taxpayers to trim what they pay in local and state taxes from their federal tax bill. This process itself is criticized because it essentially forces taxpayers in lower-tax states to subsidize their tax payments.
Despite 20 Republicans joining Democrats in voting against the fast track resolution, the measure still passed by a vote of 216-212.
As Democrats have usually done with Republican-led tax reform efforts in past years, they are criticizing the bill for being what they call a tax break for the wealthy.
Opponents were planning a protest on Capitol Hill for Wednesday, the day the bill was originally set to be introduced in Congress.
With many hurdles out of the way, Trump plans to stay very much involved in the effort to finally turn tax reform into law.
Hoping to garner some amount of Democratic support, White House officials will be targeting vulnerable Democrats up for re-election next year, especially those from states Trump won last November.
Possible targets include Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and others. However, most Democrats have panned the GOP-crafted bill. Major support from the Democrat Party is unlikely.
“It doesn’t work and they know that,” Trump said of liberal criticism of the bill. “In fact, I think we’ll have some Democrats joining us and voting (with) us.”