- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 25, 2018

House Republicans said Wednesday their plan for a second round of tax cuts will “lock in” tax relief for middle class families and small businesses, as GOP leaders met with President Trump on their agenda for the rest of the year.

Republicans on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee said the three-part plan would permanently extend last year’s tax cuts for individuals and business owners, boosting retirement savings by creating a new universal savings account and allow businesses to write off more of their start-up costs.

The outline of the plan emerged as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met with the president at the White House to discuss the work ahead in Congress in the fall. Mr. McConnell later called it “pretty much a routine meeting with the president to go over the legislative agenda.”

At a White House event late Wednesday declaring a truce in his trade war with the European Union, Mr. Trump called out to Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, Texas Republican, about the new tax-cut plan that’s expected to get a House vote in September.

“How’s it coming, Kevin? Good?” Mr. Trump asked.

But prospects are not good in the Senate, where the measure would need 60 votes to pass. Republicans hold 51 seats, and Republican Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee have said they won’t vote for tax cuts that increase deficits.

Several independent analyses have found that last year’s tax cuts will add about $1.5 trillion in deficits over the next decade. The businesses’ tax cuts in that law are permanent but individual rate cuts are set to expire in 2026.

In its mid-year budget review, the White House Office of Management and Budget said the federal budget deficit will reach $1 trillion in 2019, roughly $100 billion more than previously projected.

Mr. Brady has said the cost of making individual tax cuts permanent would be about $600 billion, although many in the GOP argue that tax relief will reduce deficits over time by spurring economic growth.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said last month that another round of tax cuts would add to the national debt.

Democrats are nearly unanimous in their opposition to the new tax cut proposal; not a single Democrat voted for last year’s massive tax relief measure.

“The GOP Tax Scam for the rich 2.0 looks to be just as destructively tilted toward the wealthiest 1 percent as the original,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.

Congress also is facing an Oct. 1 deadline to complete appropriations for fiscal 2019; and the House is scheduled to be in session only 12 more days before that due date.

House and Senate appropriators said this week that differences over allocating $1.24 trillion in discretionary spending for fiscal 2019 will delay negotiations until lawmakers return from their month-long August recess.

The Senate is on track to complete work on proposed funding for the Interior Department and EPA by the end of this week. Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, Alabama Republican, said the funding differences can be worked out by staffers during August.

The House plans to leave this week until after Labor Day, while the Senate is expected to remain in session most of August as it considers the nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.

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