The House needs to pass the Senate’s budget and move to tax reform – The Hill
In its quest for quick passage of fundamental tax reform and defeat those who oppose eliminating sundry loopholes, the House is set to forego a conference to reconcile legislative differences with the Senate, and will instead vote Thursday on the Senate-passed budget resolution, as is.
There are two questions at hand.
First, will House conservatives, who insisted during consideration of the House’s own budget resolution on significant spending reductions, now balk at voting for a budget that fails to cut spending and which, on its face, adds $1.5 trillion to the debt over the next decade? And secondly, will House Republican moderates from high-tax states refuse to vote for the budget resolution unless and until they first get assurances that proposals to eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes, known as “SALT,” are off the table?
To the first question, it is ironic that the left is caterwauling about the prospect of House conservatives voting through a budget that would, on its face, increase the national debt. “Hypocrites!” they scream. “You only care about the debt when it suits your purposes. Now that you’ve got a chance to cut taxes for your rich friends, you’re perfectly willing to go into debt to do it!”
Aside from the absolute hilarity of listening to leftists warble about their new-found “concern” for borrowing even more money, they totally overlook a fundamental point: House conservatives, and many conservative and tea party groups like the one I represent, will support tax reform precisely because we believe it is a means to pay off our national debt.
We’ve watched congressional Republicans for six years now. First in the House, going back to 2011, and then in the Senate, going back to 2015, we’ve seen absolutely zero appetite for spending reductions. And I’m not even talking about actual cuts. I’m just talking about reductions in planned spending increases.
The evidence is clear. Republicans talk a good game about spending reductions and the need to balance the budget and pay off the national debt, but when push comes to shove, they haven’t got the spine to make the tough choices.
Let me be clear: Tea Party Patriots will never back off our commitment to reducing the size of government. Our federal government is too big, and spends too much money, and borrows too much money, and we will continue our fight to reverse that.
But for this exercise, we recognize that a tax reform that increases government revenues is a key to deficit control.
Given our current high-tax, high-regulation economy, the best way we know of to grow government revenues is to fundamentally reform the tax code, to create a more dynamic, pro-growth code that encourages investment, savings, and job creation, and generates more government revenues from more economic activity.
Remember, the difference between two percent growth per year and four percent growth per year is $5 trillion in additional revenue flow to the government over ten years.
If we could pass a tax reform that could generate four percent growth, we’d have additional revenues flowing into the Treasury. And that would help get us to a point where we could pay down the debt.
So voting for a budget resolution in order to be able to enact a pro-growth tax reform isn’t shirking one’s concern for the ever-increasing national debt, it is actually a means of addressing it, and working to solve it. For those concerned about the national debt, voting for the Senate budget resolution isn’t hypocritical, it’s necessary.
To the second question, Republican Congressman Peter King of New York is leading the charge against eliminating the SALT deduction. With a median income of almost $89,000, his district ranks 20th out of 435 in income. He thinks many of his constituents are about to get shortchanged, and he’s going to do his best, as he sees it, to defend their interests.
He argued on a radio show Tuesday morning that GOP donors in New York should cut off donations to GOP party organizations and candidates if they remove the SALT deduction.
But roughly 20 percent of his constituents who are reading news stories about the prospective loss of the SALT deduction and think they’re about to get shortchanged don’t, in fact, use the SALT deduction, because of the alternative minimum tax.
They would actually be far better off if the alternative minimum tax were repealed. And guess what? That’s exactly what the Unified Framework tax reform plan proposes.
Moreover, the virtual doubling of the standard deduction would help a large segment of his constituents. So would the lower bracket for working families, and the larger child tax credit for families in his district, and the roughly 37 percent tax cut for family-owned businesses in his district.
Congressman King and his colleagues should support it as is.
Pass this budget, House Republicans. Let’s get on to fundamental tax reform.
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