WASHINGTON (AP) — Promoted as needed relief for the middle class, the Senate Republican tax overhaul actually would increase taxes for some 13.8 million moderate-income American households, a nonpartisan analysis showed Monday.
The assessment by Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation emerged as the Senate’s tax-writing committee began wading through the measure, working toward the first major revamp of the tax system in some 30 years.
Barging into the carefully calibrated work that House and Senate Republicans have done, President Donald Trump called for a steeper tax cut for wealthy Americans and pressed GOP leaders to add a contentious health care change to the already complex mix.
Trump’s latest tweet injected a dose of uncertainty into the process as the Republicans try to deliver on his top legislative priority. He commended GOP leaders for getting the tax legislation closer to passage in recent weeks and then said, “Cut top rate to 35% w/all of the rest going to middle income cuts?”
That puts him at odds with the House legislation that leaves the top rate at 39.6 percent and the Senate bill as written, with the top rate at 38.5 percent.
Trump also said, “Now how about ending the unfair & highly unpopular individual mandate in (Obama)care and reducing taxes even further?”
Overall, the legislation would deeply cut corporate taxes, double the standard deduction used by most Americans, and limit or repeal completely the federal deduction for state and local property, income and sales taxes. It carries high political stakes for Trump and Republican leaders in Congress, who view passage of tax cuts as critical to the GOP preserving its majorities at the polls next year.
With few votes to spare, Republican leaders hope to finalize a tax overhaul by Christmas and send the legislation to Trump for his signature.
The key House leader on the effort, Rep. Kevin Brady, said he’s “very confident” that Republicans “do and will have the votes to pass” the measure this week.