At about 8 p.m. Tuesday night, the House Republican leadership posted the much-anticipated tax bill negotiated by House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
We’ve covered this bill for a while now, but the gist of it is this: It extends a whole host of business tax breaks and expands the child tax credit with a focus on lower-income families. It’s also got some other measures including affordable housing incentives and disaster tax relief.
In usual times, a bill like this could be a slam dunk for House Republican leaders, though it’s worth noting that tax legislation is always somewhat trickier on its own. Still, it was approved by the Ways and Means Committee 40-3.
Yet House Republican leadership has struggled a bit with how to handle the bill.
What you need to know: The plan, as of now, is for the House Republicans to put the bill on the floor next week under suspension of the rules, a fast-track procedure that requires a two-thirds majority for passage. That’s why the House GOP leadership noticed the bill late Tuesday night; they need to give five days for bills considered as part of the suspension calendar.
GOP leaders will want to use suspension of the rules for a couple of reasons:
1) The House Rules Committee includes several hardline conservatives, which makes reporting a rule out of the committee nearly impossible.
2) Speaker Mike Johnson also has a SALT problem. Some New York Republicans will take down any rule that doesn’t include the ability for them to try to roll back the Trump-era limits on the state and local tax deduction.
If GOP leadership gave New York GOPers a vote on rolling back the SALT limits, it could pass, imperiling the final passage of the bill.
So Johnson and his leadership team will have to work this week and next to mollify New York lawmakers and other blue state Republicans whose constituents have been hit very hard by the $10,000 SALT limit.
To be fair, GOP leaders often force blue-state Republicans to vote on all sorts of measures that could imperil their reelection. So this will be familiar territory for all involved. Let’s see if New York Republicans do anything but bellyache.
There will be some hardline conservatives who complain about moving a massive tax bill through the fast-track suspension process, as well.
Some key members of the Senate GOP have also been critical of parts of the tax package and held off on backing it publicly. The uncertainty on the Senate side — where Republican votes would be crucial for this to pass — doesn’t make the House’s decision-making any easier.
We do expect plenty of outside pressure to get this done. It’s a huge priority for businesses, and it’s also drawn support from groups that back expanding the child tax credit and aiding lower-income families.
— Jake Sherman and Laura Weiss