By KEVIN FREKING
WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the House’s tax-writing committee is expressing confidence that chamber won’t go along with the Senate’s proposal to eliminate the deduction for property taxes, setting up a major flashpoint as Republicans aim to put a tax cut bill on President Donald Trump’s desk before Christmas.
The GOP is moving urgently on the first rewrite of the U.S. tax code in three decades, but key differences complicate the effort.
Among the biggest differences in the two bills that have emerged: The House bill allows homeowners to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes, while the Senate proposal unveiled by GOP leaders last week eliminates the entire deduction.
The deduction is particularly important to residents in states with high property values or tax rates, such as New Jersey, Illinois, California and New York.
Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he worked with lawmakers in those states to ensure the House bill “delivers this relief” and that he was committed to ensuring it stays in the final package.
“It’s important to make sure that people keep more of what they earn, even in these high-tax states,” Brady, R-Texas, said on “Fox News Sunday.”
The Senate’s tax-writing committee will wade through its newly unveiled measure starting Monday. The legislation in the House and Senate carries high political stakes for President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress, who view passage of tax cuts as critical to the GOP at the polls next year.
The House is expected to vote on its measure Thursday. The House Ways and Means Committee approved it last week on a party-line 24-16 vote.
Democrats are solidly opposed to the GOP tax plan, so Republicans must find agreement among themselves to have any hope of passage.
Both the House and Senate versions of the legislation would eliminate deductions for state and local income taxes and sales taxes paid. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in response to Brady’s pledge that Republicans should fully restore what is referred to as the SALT deduction, or millions of middle-class families would end up paying higher federal income taxes, not less.
“The House’s so-called ‘compromise’ would be saying to the middle class we’ll only chop off four of your fingers instead of all five,” Schumer said.
A key feature of both bills is slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, but the Senate version delays the cut for one year. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on CBS’s “Face The Nation” that he was confident the issue would not be a stumbling block to reaching an agreement.
“Obviously, we would prefer if they kicked in sooner rather than later, but we’re going to work with the Senate on that issue,” Mnuchin said.
Mnuchin rebuffed projections that the tax cuts would increase the national debt. He said that creating sustained economic growth of 3 percent or higher would generate trillions of dollars in additional revenue to the government. He did not specify over what time frame that would occur.
“This is all about growth,” Mnuchin said.