House Democrats will hold hearings this year to lay the groundwork for rolling back some of the more contentious provisions in the Republicans’ 2017 tax law.
No Democrats voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that President Donald Trump signed in December 2017, and Democratic leaders have criticized the bill as disproportionately benefiting large corporations and the wealthy and adding billions to the federal deficit.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) is taking a pragmatic approach to tax reform, seeking to examine the true economic impacts of the TCJA on the middle class, for example, while remaining realistic that major changes are not going to pass the Republican-controlled Senate or be signed into law by President Trump.
House Progressives want to roll back parts of the tax law piece-by-piece, and they want Ways and Means to exercise its oversight role after two years of Republican-controlled government. A Ways and Means subcommittee hearing earlier today examined legislative options for disclosing presidential and vice-presidential tax returns, prompting Trump to tweet this morning that Democrats are “going nuts” with investigations.
At a press conference today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Trump is a “projector,” and that she is proud of the committee work taking place.
“We will not surrender our constitutional responsibility for oversight,” Pelosi said. “That would make us delinquent in our duties.”
With an eye toward the 2020 presidential election, Democrats are using the tax law to draw contrasts between their priorities and those of Trump and congressional Republicans. Numerous Democrats are floating some form of “wealth tax” to reduce income and wealth inequality.
In the short term, however, there may be smaller corrections to tax law possible even in a divided Congress. ASAE and the UBIT Coalition continue to meet with congressional offices to seek repeal of a 21 percent tax on so-called fringe benefits – such as free parking or mass transit assistance – that nonprofits provide to employees. UBIT Coalition members are scheduling meetings with new members of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee to urge them to repeal the transportation benefits tax, which projects as a huge burden for associations and other nonprofit groups.