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House postpones vote on tax extenders, more tax reform

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No vote in the House this week on the Republican effort to pass more tax legislation before the GOP surrenders control of the chamber to Democrats at the start of the new January 2019 Congressional session.

Are you waiting around this Friday to see whether the House will pass the GOP's package of tax extenders, some Tax Reform 2.0 proposal and corrections to the now almost a year-old Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)

Don't. Go ahead and call it a day and head out for an early first weekend of December.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the architect of the measure officially known as H.R. 88, has called off floor consideration. 

GOP absentees doom quick passage: The official word is that Brady didn't have the votes because many of his Republican colleagues who lost their reelection bids aren't in town.

That's not a good sign for Republicans who had hoped to push through one more tax bill before the 115th Congressional session ends at the end of this year. Come January 2019, the Grand Old Party will surrender House control to Democrats, who won back the legislative body thanks to a strong showing in November's midterm elections.

You can be sure that most of the tax changes Democrats will propose in the coming two years will be vastly different from what Brady et al advocate.

While the House delay is a surprise, the bill already was facing a tougher time on the other side of Capitol Hill.

Although the GOP holds a slim majority in the Senate (and it will increase a bit next year), it will take 60 votes for the tax bill to clear the Upper Chamber. That means some Senate Democrats will have to vote for tax package in order for it to reach the 60 votes required to pass.

Good luck with that.

What we're waiting for: So what's at stake? Among the provisions in the almost 300-page H.R. 88 are: 

  • various disaster tax measures, including mandatory tax deadline extensions;
  • retroactive extension for the 2018 tax year of more than 20 temporary tax laws, aka extenders, that have expired, including, much to Donald Trump's chagrin, a tax credit for electric vehicles; and
  • provisions from separate bills that have been dubbed by the GOP as Tax Reform 2.0, which would make retirement savings changes and provide additional small business start-up incentives.

Brady's bill also would have made some corrections to the TCJA. The hurried passage (and absence of hearings) last December of the first major tax reform bill since the historic Tax Reform Act of 1986 meant that it was enacted with some (OK, a lot of) errors.

Maybe next week: The latest word is that Brady and House leadership will give the tax package another shot next week.

Until then, though, you can stop worrying about and added tax measures.

Take off early today and enjoy a sort-of long weekend!





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