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Jason Smith and Richie Neal

House Dems push for changes to tax deal

News: House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) and Ranking Member Richie Neal (D-Mass.) spoke by phone Wednesday as Democrats seek changes to a tax deal that the panel is marking up Friday.

Neal told reporters Wednesday he wants more refundability for the child tax credit as part of the deal, which Smith struck with Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) this week.

Committee staff are discussing Neal’s request for changes, but it’s unclear if they’ll end up in the bill.

Both lawmakers agree they want a bipartisan show of support when the bill is marked up in committee, according to multiple sources.

If the House takes up the bill, it would likely be under suspension of the rules, a procedure that requires a two-thirds majority for passage. This means it would need a significant number of Democratic votes to pass.

Earlier Wednesday, House Democrats huddled on the tax package and several left their meeting offering some praise but saying they wanted to do more on the child tax credit.

We’ve got docs: Ways and Means Republicans also made their markup official on Wednesday night, giving notice that it’ll be on Friday at 9 a.m. and releasing bill text of the package.

The Joint Committee on Taxation weighed in too, releasing its score of the bill. JCT found it would add little to the deficit over 10 years — $262 million. Most of the bill’s cost is covered by over $78 billion in savings from ending claims filed for the pandemic-era employee retention tax credit and cracking down on fraud in the program.

In other tax news: Ways and Means newcomer Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) is taking over a bill with wide GOP support — and fellow midwest backers — that Smith led before taking over as committee chair. It’s the “Death Tax Repeal Act,” which would end the estate tax, and he’s introducing it today with over 160 colleagues signed on.

In the unhelpful department: The Wall Street Journal editorial page took a bat to the Smith-Wyden deal. In an editorial titled “Mr. Smith’s Lousy Tax Deal,” here’s what the WSJ said:

— Laura Weiss

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