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Sunday November 19, 2017

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Ryan and Brady Barnstorm for Tax Reform

Barnstorming is defined as "traveling to different places to give speeches."

During the August recess, both the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) are barnstorming America to promote tax reform.

Ryan met with Wisconsin voters in a public forum on August 21. He expects tax reform to be easier than healthcare reform. Ryan noted, "Tax reform is different. The entire tax reform bill can go into one bill through the House and the Senate. So procedurally, it makes it much easier."

Ryan also expressed a sense of urgency for tax reform. He explained that America is "losing businesses left and right" because of the high corporate tax rate. Ryan continued, "The biggest business we had in Wisconsin—publically traded—was Johnson Controls. The thermostat here is probably a Johnson Controls thermostat. They are now an Irish company. Their worldwide tax rate is 12 ½%."

Brady spoke in Dallas on August 23. He acknowledged that the agreement by the White House and House and Senate leaders to eliminate the border adjustable tax (BAT) will cause many challenges. Eliminating the BAT would reduce revenue by $1 trillion and create a pressing need to find other revenue. Brady explained, "Without the border adjustment revenue, it means we are scrubbing the business side of the tax code to look for the provisions that are not as pro-growth or that, because we are now lowering the rates significantly, just do not pack the punch that they did before."

Nevertheless, Brady agreed that it was important to give up the BAT because "there were too many unknowns, especially for those who import."

Brady also promised to continue an effort to reach out to the Ways and Means Committee Democrats. He previously met with Committee Democrats to discuss potential areas of agreement. Brady stated, "The areas they are looking at as high priorities are ours as well." He pledged to hold more Ways and Means Committee hearings on tax reform.

Speaker Ryan traveled to Oregon and spoke at an Intel manufacturing plant on August 23. Because semiconductors are a very competitive business, he emphasized the need to pass a tax bill to assist American industry. Ryan noted, "We have two to three trillion dollars of American profits parked overseas that cannot come back to be reinvested in our communities because of our tax laws. We are convinced that if we get our tax rates down on all of our business—small businesses, big, and everything in-between—then we can be far more globally competitive, and we can keep our companies based in America."

Editor's Note: It still may be possible to pass a comprehensive tax reform bill by the end of the year. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) suggested it may not happen until December 24. He stated, "I believe leadership is going to tell us you are not going home for the holidays until you pass tax reform."


Published August 25, 2017
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