Republicans in Congress and the Administration are facing increased pressure to achieve a legislative victory on tax reform after healthcare reform failed to advance last month. The “Big Six” of tax reform – House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin – recently released a statement on tax reform to reinforce their commitment to enacting tax reform by the year’s end. While limited in details, the statement did acknowledge that GOP leaders have abandoned the border adjustment proposal, a controversial destination-based tax on imported goods that would have offset much of the lost revenue from the proposed lower corporate tax rates.
The tax-writing committees in both the House and the Senate are continuing to hold hearings as tax reform negotiations progress. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has said that he hopes to hold a tax reform markup after the August recess, and GOP leadership have indicated that they plan to have a tax reform bill on the President’s desk before Thanksgiving. This ambitious timeline adds to a full legislative calendar this fall, when completing a budget resolution and raising the federal debt ceiling must be addressed in September.