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Roe likes tax cut bill’s chances in Senate

Hank Hayes • Nov 3, 2017 at 5:30 PM

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe thinks even the Senate will go along with the proposed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act -– legislation that would overhaul the nation’s tax code for the first time in more than 30 years.

“I really do,” Roe, R-Tenn., said in a Friday conference call with reporters. “You have to remember you’re taking this from a guy who thought the Senate would pass health care (Obamacare repeal and replace) and it failed by one vote. This has been much better coordinated. The Senate has been working along parallel. … There are issues but I believe they can be worked out. … The part where you deduct your state and local taxes, that may change up a little bit. … All in all, it was a really smooth rollout yesterday. … I think the Senate is very close. I think it’s possible we could get it done before the first of the year.”

The House Committee on Ways and Means says that a middle income family of four earning $59,000 a year would get a $1,182 tax cut under the bill.

The legislation would lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent; increase the standard deduction from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals and from $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples; continue the deduction for charitable contributions; retain retirement savings options such as 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts; and allow businesses to write off the full cost of new equipment.

Still, the bill is coming under fire from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

NCSL President and South Dakota state Sen. Deb Peters (R) said this of the bill: “This is an attack on the sovereignty of the states. We are opposed to the modification, which is essentially an elimination, of the state and local tax deduction (SALT). SALT is one of the six original federal tax deductions and has been a staple of the federal tax code and the state-federal fiscal relationship for over 100 years. We will continue to fight for the more than 43 million Americans who claim this deduction every year.”

Where does the bill stand in the House?

“We will go through debate next week. The idea is to try to vote on that bill right before Thanksgiving, which I hope we can on the House side. The Senate is working on a companion bill.”

Is it true that tax reform would hurt farmers and middle class families?

“That’s clearly wrong. … (U.S. Sen.) Chuck Schumer said exactly the same thing and it got four pinocchios from the Washington Post. It really is a middle class tax cut. … Middle class people everywhere you look are getting a tax cut. … If we weren’t doing this for middle class people, there’s really no reason we should be doing it.”

Talk about your bill that passed in the House to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board in Medicare.

“The Independent Payment Advisory Board was a well-intentioned but misguided piece of the Affordable Care Act that would have put an unaccountable and unelected panel in charge of making sweeping changes to Medicare spending,” Roe said. “I’ve been working on Independent Payment Advisory Board repeal for years. … There were 307 votes for that bill. This puts a lot of pressure on the Senate. I think there’s a real shot. … There are 13 Democrats on the bill in the Senate side. … Hopefully we will get this passed and signed into law. I’m excited about that. … It’s a bill I’ve been working on since 2009. You’ll have to give me an ‘A’ for persistence on this. Each Congress, you have to go through it again and go through all the steps.”

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