Opinion: Tax reform clears a major hurdle, faces another

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) applaud with their fellow House Republicans during a news conference following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Thursday. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Big news out of the U.S. House just now:

That’s a more comfortable margin than the razor-thin, 217-213 vote by which the House passed its Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill in the spring. Just 13 Republicans ended up opposing the bill. There were fears of more defections — more than twice that many House Republicans come from the high-tax states of California, New Jersey and New York, where the partial removal of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction would bite hardest — but in the end most of them voted for the bill.

The focus now shifts to the Senate, which again is flirting with legislative disaster. A number of Senate Republicans have already expressed doubts about their version of the legislation, and that’s before the possibility a Democrat will replace interim Sen. Luther Strange of Alabama after the revelations about GOP candidate Roy Moore. The previous goal of passing a tax bill by year’s end might have to be bumped up to beat Alabama’s Dec. 12 special election.

Of course, there will have to be more than one vote. It’s clear that the Senate will not — initially, anyway — pass the same bill the House just approved. Senators are working from a fairly different script right now: eliminating the SALT deduction entirely but adding back a few others; keeping more tax brackets but lowering the top rate; phasing in or out more of the tax provisions (to affect the scoring of the bill regarding its impact on the deficit within a 10-year window); and more. Passing one bill and then reconciling it with the House version, and then passing that, before Dec. 12 will be a challenge.

One way senators are trying to give themselves some leeway is by including a repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate. Originally sold as a penalty but upheld by the Supreme Court as a tax, the financial cost of failing to purchase insurance brings in some revenue each year. But this is vastly outweighed by the amount the government spends to subsidize some of the insurance people buy to comply with the mandate. Repealing the mandate thus is projected to save more than $300 billion over 10 years, a significant bump given that Congress has only $1.5 trillion over 10 years of wiggle room under the budget instructions they approved earlier this year.

Some of my liberal friends will describe this as taking away people’s health insurance to pay for tax cuts. But “taking away” is the exact wrong thing to call this. The change would not strip anyone of their ability to obtain or even pay for health insurance as they do now under Obamacare. The people who would not be insured anymore after the change would, by definition, be people who were choosing not to be insured. I have noted before that the Congressional Budget Office’s past forecasts have greatly overestimated the impact of the individual mandate. It’s worth noting now that the number of people expected to drop their insurance (13 million by 2027) would include 5 million decided not to enroll in Medicaid — a free program. Nonetheless, whatever the number is, these are people who would be making a choice about their health insurance, not having that choice forced upon them. There may be good or bad effects of that choice for themselves and others in the health-insurance market, but the point is they could continue making the same choice they made before; no one is “taking away” anything from them.

Assuming senators stick with the idea of repealing the individual mandate, that $300 billion-plus could give them the flexibility to bridge the gaps that exist among themselves as well as between the Senate and the House. Without that flexibility, it is hard at the moment to see how they get to “yes” all the way around.

Reader Comments 0

119 comments
SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Sounds like the alarm bells are starting to ring out in the liberal left community that this tax bill might just make it through to signing and that scares these unAmerican Americans to death.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

"House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) applaud with their fellow House Republicans during a news conference following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Thursday"


I don't want to get accuse of using the race card, but it would help sell this bill if we see a little bit more diversity in the people pushing the bill. Old rich white guys adds to the optics of helping the rich.

bendedknee
bendedknee

Nothing in this tax bill is designed bring corporate jobs back from overseas  and nothing to restrict  tax deductions for relocation of factories overseas . When Obama promised that in a tax bill  the Cons said f- you  and voted it down.

Now you have  Orange Clown who promised to bring jobs back from overseas. Instead he enriches himself and his family by almost a billion dollars under GOP tax plan.


Trumpsters here could care less.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

Obamacare again. It would poetry again if this bill doesn't pass because they try to get rid of Obamacare mandate. Which has  grown in popularity. 


Nevertheless. The Repubs need to sell this bill to the public. So far they haven't been going a good job.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@McGarnagle


The bill is a giant piece of t urd.  The only people who see it as something other than a giant piece of t urd are conservative sycophants who have been successfully brainwashed.  It's hard to sell such a large piece of t urd to anyone other than the aforementioned sycophants.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@Eye wonder @McGarnagle


There is certainly a sense of gleefulness that this bill will cause an explosion of wealth and growth. I see another bubble on the horizon.

metitotktodd
metitotktodd

Make America An Oligarchy of the 1% Again.  Republicans have always only given a damn about Christian white males in the top 1% and no one else.  Why do the deplorables that are brainwashed by FOX Noise to vote for these terrorists continue to vote against their economic interests?  Don't they realize they're getting screwed by a bunch of snake oil salesman?  Or do they not care as long as Trump is making good on his promise to Make America White Again?

bendedknee
bendedknee

@metitotktodd Ryan has a multi million trust fund from the family business (Ryan Construction -all public contracts). He could not  give a  da-n if the  little people suffer with cuts in social security and medicare.

Caius
Caius

"The focus now shifts to the Senate, which again is flirting with legislative disaster."

I guess this is like beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Maybe a disaster for the Majority Leader and Speaker but maybe a crowning achievement for the two minority leaders.

So we are only going to legislate a 1.5 trillion deficit. Bueno!

Now, how much is the deficit going to be for the spending on repairing/fixing the nation's infrastructure?



bendedknee
bendedknee

@Caius We have not gotten to increases in defense spending yet. 


By law, medicare , social security, education, medicaid will be cut to offset the deficit increase, Kyle and Cons think we are too stupid to figure that out.

Doomy
Doomy

@Caius


Aaah. So the new Dimocrat deficit hawks are going to complain about a new 1.5 trillion in added debt over a 10 year period. Too funny! Where oh where were these deficit hawks when 10 trillion in new debt got rung up the previous 8 years? Where were they???

metitotktodd
metitotktodd

@Doomy @Caius More fake news and lies and racism from the deplorable racist Trump supporters brainwashed by the fake news and lies and racism from Trump and FOX Noise

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@Doomy @Caius


So I guess the economy being in the crapper during that time doesn't ring a bell.


Nevertheless. Now that we are good economically, its the perfect position to reduce the deficit. Why waste this opportunity from the group of people who view it as an existential threat.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

You seem awful gleeful, Kyle, considering you're likely to see your tax burden go up, your health insurance premiums go up, your health coverage get more skimpy and the debt and deficit you have heretofore claimed to be concerned about also go up.


On the plus side, the Trumps and the Kushners are going to get a windfall.  And the cherry on top is that Eric and Don Jr. can bring their elephant tusk trophies back home with them.


Winning!

Doomy
Doomy

@Eye wonder


"You seem awful gleeful, Kyle, considering you're likely to see your tax burden go up,"


Not intended to be a factual statement. 


" your health insurance premiums go up,"


Premiums have already gone up 105% in the past 4 years. Where ya been, Rumpletstiltskin? 


" your health coverage get more skimpy"


Where ya been? Coverage has already gotten skimpier. 1/3rd of American counties are down to 1 provider. And up here Athens way its one provider in most counties around here. The coverage has been getting skimpier for 4 straight years. Again. Where ya been, Rumplestiltskin?


"and the debt and deficit you have heretofore claimed to be concerned about also go up"


Another reborn deficit hawk complaining about 1.5 trillion over 10 years after nearly 10 trillion has been added the previous 8 years. You cannot make this stuff up! Ya just can't! 

bendedknee
bendedknee

So billionaires like Trump get millions in tax benefits and  retired people get mandatory cuts in social security and medicare and all the dumb hayseeds who voted for Trump suddenly wake up and say WTF happened?

bendedknee
bendedknee

@SGTGrit So you are all for mandatory cuts in medicare, social security and medicaid  triggered by this bill?

Doomy
Doomy

@bendedknee @SGTGrit


Mandatory cuts? Or mandatory cuts in the rate of growth of spending? 


This is how Orwellian the kooks on the left have become. A cut in the rate of growth, which already exceeds the rate of inflation, is now being falsely claimed as a real cut. 


Is there any end to the level of blatant dishonesty by you folks? 

metitotktodd
metitotktodd

@SGTGrit Only terrorists would support this bill.  Anyone who supports this sick treasonous bill should be deported or thrown in prison

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@metitotktodd @SGTGrit 

Well you would have to lock up about half of the country who work and pay taxes and that would leave mostly the low information folks that pay little to no tax. I kind of think you must fit into that latter category.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

It's time to give Progs due recognition for the success of their propaganda on their base.

Ever since ACA was passed it has been one revelation after another on how the Obama administration was propping it up, issuing waivers, spending money not appropriated, and pushing certain things off so the program would not fail during Obama's time in office.

Most all of the projections have or are coming true, yet the Progs are absolutely certain it is Trump who is taking down Obamacare.

When I was a kid they called it brainwashing, a term that needs resurrecting applied to the Left.

metitotktodd
metitotktodd

@JohnnyReb Seems pretty obvious that anyone still supporting the racist white supremacist Trump is themselves a racist KKK white supremacist neo-Nazi who should either be in prison or deported. I didn’t realize there were so many morons brainwashed by the hatred and racism from FOX Noise and the Republican party.Make America Racist Again. Make America White Again

Robert1959
Robert1959

Kyle, you and I both know for a fact that the House of Representatives is full of GOP cowards who will say and do anything to give Donald "birther" Trump, 1st white nationalist/alt-right POTUS a "win" regardless of how much the American People "lose". This "tax reform" bill is D.O.A. when it reaches the Senate just like the ACA and the immigration ban.  Thank You God....

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Robert1959

Hey Robert, if a tax bill passes congress and Trump signs, will you pledge to stop posting the Obama first black president and Trump the first white nationalist BS?

metitotktodd
metitotktodd

@JohnnyReb @Robert1959 30 years of racist right wing hate radio from Rush Limbaugh, 20 years of racism from FOX Noise and 8 years of racist Republican stonewalling of Obama from Trump and others have pretty much made every Republican a racist white supremacist neo-Nazi KKK who should either be in prison or deported.

Mayretta J. Slobberknock
Mayretta J. Slobberknock

"There may be good or bad effects of that choice for themselves and others in the health-insurance market ..."


Are you able to name one good effect? The disastrous effect is the unbalanced risk pool, i.e. adverse selection that gets worse without the individual mandate and likely forces more people to "choose" against buying insurance because it's unaffordable.

bendedknee
bendedknee

@Mayretta J. Slobberknock You cannot cover all preexisting conditions without having everyone contribute like Medicare.  It is as simple as that. 


The only way to assure everyone pays their share is to have a mandatory tax  to cover cost of unreimbursed  care at the ER or covers mandatory premiums.  There can be  tax credits as incentives.

Robert1959
Robert1959

@Mayretta J. Slobberknock "Are you able to name one good effect?"  Hundreds of thousands of Americans signed up for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during the recent open enrollment period.  Trump tried his best to "sabotage" the ACA by trying to cut off funding and taking down the website.  Trump's actions did not stop the American People.  Thank God the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still the "law of the land".

Doomy
Doomy

@Mayretta J. Slobberknock


And the unbalanced risk pool and adverse selection were an unintended consequence of ACA to begin with. ACA was already on a death spiral to begin with. 


Doomy
Doomy

@bendedknee @Mayretta J. Slobberknock


"only way to assure everyone pays their share is to have a mandatory tax  to cover cost of unreimbursed  care at the ER..."


So are you comfortable with enforcing a mandatory tax on those who use the ER room unnecessarily as their source of primary care? You know, so that these poor people can pay their fair share.  

bendedknee
bendedknee

@Doomy @bendedknee @Mayretta J. Slobberknock

You do not understand Reagancare or EMTALA  - no tax or charges allowed on anyone who demands treatment at the ER.


You and I were subsidizing the hospitals until ACA kicked in. Now some are going to start closing if funding is cut off which was to occur October 1.


Reagancare was followed by Romney care which was designed to reimburse hospitals through individual mandate and more Medicaid funding. 



bendedknee
bendedknee

GOP tax bill will cause automatic cuts in Medicare since it is not deficit neutral and people Kyle and cons here buy the rubbish that it will help the middle class and not favor the rich and corporate executives and shareholders.


The Republican tax plan would force the government to slash billions of dollars' worth of core services unless Democrats relent, according to a new report.

A letter from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer on Tuesday said that because of a congressional rule, essential programs like Medicare could face deep cuts unless some Democrats agree with the GOP to waive the provision.

The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act, or Paygo, requires tax cuts and other types of legislation to pay for themselves; if they don't, Paygo triggers automatic spending cuts to offset any new debt added by the legislation.

According to the CBO, since the GOP's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is expected to add roughly $1.5 trillion in new debt over the next 10 years, Paygo would force spending cuts of $150 billion a year on average to offset the reduced revenue.

The letter from the CBO said the cuts in 2018 would total $136 billion, including slashing the budget to core programs like Medicare. The CBO said Paygo would force a cut of $25 billion from Medicare — the maximum amount allowable — and then cuts totaling "between $85 billion to $90 billion" from other programs like the federal student-loan program and farm subsidies.

These cuts can be waived — but not under the process being used by the GOP to pass the tax bill. The process, known as budget reconciliation, allows Republicans in the Senate to avoid a Democratic filibuster and pass the bill on a party-line vote.

The Paygo wavier, however, would not qualify for reconciliation consideration and would need at least 60 votes. Since Republicans have only 52 seats in the Senate, they would need eight Democrats to get on board to waive these requirements.


http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-gop-tax-plan-paygo-forces-medicare-mandatory-spending-cuts-2017-11

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

"The change would not strip anyone of their ability to obtain or even pay for health insurance as they do now under Obamacare. The people who would not be insured anymore after the change would, by definition, be people who were choosing not to be insured."


This bill has been examined and one appraisal is that it will cause HC policies to increase by 10%. Also, under your comment, the poorer folks will be able to afford HC after the approval of this "shell game" legislation. 


Is it a "perfect" bill? After 10 yrs and perhaps earlier the tax cuts to the lower and middle class goes away. Then what? You ridicule Obamacare for not being "perfect" and then deny any adjustments to it. Please answer this question: Besides a salary increase for our Federal reps, what legislation was "perfect" and needed no adjustment?

bendedknee
bendedknee

@RoadScholar Back to good old days of Reagancare. Let the insured and paying patients cover  free ER care for all who are uninsured. It is called socialism.

Victoria.leo
Victoria.leo

g͓̽00g͓̽l͓̽e͓̽ p͓̽a͓̽y͓̽ 85$ p͓̽e͓̽r͓̽ h͓̽o͓̽u͓̽r͓̽ m͓̽y͓̽ l͓̽a͓̽s͓̽t͓̽ p͓̽a͓̽y͓̽ c͓̽h͓̽e͓̽c͓̽k͓̽ w͓̽a͓̽s͓̽ $8500 o͓̽p͓̽e͓̽r͓̽a͓̽t͓̽i͓̽n͓̽g͓̽ a͓̽ h͓̽u͓̽n͓̽d͓̽r͓̽e͓̽d͓̽ h͓̽o͓̽u͓̽r͓̽s͓̽ p͓̽e͓̽r͓̽ w͓̽e͓̽e͓̽k͓̽ o͓̽n͓̽-l͓̽i͓̽n͓̽e͓̽. m͓̽y͓̽ y͓̽o͓̽u͓̽n͓̽g͓̽e͓̽r͓̽ b͓̽r͓̽o͓̽t͓̽h͓̽e͓̽r͓̽ f͓̽r͓̽i͓̽e͓̽n͓̽d͓̽ h͓̽a͓̽s͓̽ b͓̽e͓̽e͓̽n͓̽ a͓̽v͓̽e͓̽r͓̽a͓̽g͓̽i͓̽n͓̽g͓̽ 12k͓̽ f͓̽o͓̽r͓̽ m͓̽o͓̽n͓̽t͓̽h͓̽s͓̽ c͓̽u͓̽r͓̽r͓̽e͓̽n͓̽t͓̽l͓̽y͓̽ a͓̽n͓̽d͓̽ h͓̽e͓̽'s͓̽ e͓̽m͓̽p͓̽l͓̽o͓̽y͓̽e͓̽d͓̽ c͓̽o͓̽n͓̽c͓̽e͓̽r͓̽n͓̽i͓̽n͓̽g͓̽ t͓̽w͓̽e͓̽n͓̽t͓̽y͓̽ t͓̽w͓̽o͓̽ h͓̽o͓̽u͓̽r͓̽s͓̽ p͓̽e͓̽r͓̽ w͓̽e͓̽e͓̽k͓̽. i͓̽ c͓̽a͓̽n͓̽’t͓̽ b͓̽e͓̽l͓̽i͓̽e͓̽v͓̽e͓̽ h͓̽o͓̽w͓̽e͓̽v͓̽e͓̽r͓̽ s͓̽i͓̽m͓̽p͓̽l͓̽e͓̽ i͓̽t͓̽ h͓̽a͓̽d͓̽ b͓̽e͓̽e͓̽n͓̽ o͓̽n͓̽c͓̽e͓̽ i͓̽ a͓̽t͓̽t͓̽e͓̽m͓̽p͓̽t͓̽e͓̽d͓̽ i͓̽t͓̽ o͓̽u͓̽t͓̽. t͓̽h͓̽i͓̽s͓̽ i͓̽s͓̽ o͓̽f͓̽t͓̽e͓̽n͓̽ w͓̽h͓̽a͓̽t͓̽ i͓̽ d͓̽o͓̽.

        ░A░M░A░Z░I░N░G░ ░J░O░B░S░

°°°°°°http://ow.ly/pqaC30fgvnI 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

At this point I'm not sure what position to take on Roy Moore, as it pertains to his candidacy as an Alabama United States senator. My original thought after some corroborating evidence came out supporting his accusers is that he should step down. Now with Franken and probably more sexual abusers in congress being outed, I'm wondering if it's really fair to condemn a man for transgressions allegedly committed 40 years ago. Particularly, when there has been nothing in his past since then to indicate any sexual misbehavior. The Alabama Republican party evidently is thumbing their nose at the RNC and are supporting him regardless of these allegations. Let the people of Alabama decide their decision certainly couldn't be any worse than what we have already in congress.

bu22
bu22

@SGTGrit  If he did any of this with 14 year olds, he shouldn't be in Congress, even if it was 40 years ago.  The Democrats devalue the serious accusations by talking about him asking 17 and 18 year olds for a date.  The horror!!!!!  Franken should be kicked out, but he won't be.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@bu22 @SGTGrit 

I had forgotten about the 14 year old because she hasn't been mentioned for awhile, but I would have to agree with you. 

Robert1959
Robert1959

@SGTGrit Comparing Roy Moore a 32 year old pedophile chasing teenagers (14, 15, 16, etc.) with Al Franken a grown man inappropriately kissing a grown woman is outrageous.  How low will you the GOP go to protect a pedophile like Roy Moore?

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Robert1959 @SGTGrit 

Unwittingly or otherwise you fail to comprehend the definition of pedophile. Or maybe you're attempting to redefine the definition liberals are infamous for attempting to do that.

bu22
bu22

@SGTGrit @Robert1959  He's trying to prove Kyle right on the other thread about people trying to justify bad behavior on their own side.

bu22
bu22

@SGTGrit @Robert1959  There's no question about coercion on the part of Franken.  There's still doubt on exactly what happened with Moore.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@bu22 @SGTGrit @Robert1959 

I would hate to be an Alabama voter in this situation. If you vote for Moore you really don't know the full story about him on the other hand if you vote for Jones or just not vote you're helping the Democrats to be rewarded for the dirty politics by handing them an unearned senate seat.

metitotktodd
metitotktodd

@bu22 @SGTGrit Another right wing hatchet job by the terrorists in the Republican party.Franken is barely touching the woman in the photo.Doesn’t even come close to the behavior of sexual predators Trump and Moore who are accusing of raping and assaulting underage women.But what else would you expect from the Republican terrorists.I see someone at FOX Noise was the one accusing Franken, because he was asking some hard questions about Trump/Russian collusion. Republicans bring out their old criminal tricks and fake news and lies to brainwash the gullible public and the media while ignoring Trump and Moore’s transgressions, which are far worse than what Franken ‘allegedly’ did.

bu22
bu22

@SGTGrit @bu22 @Robert1959  Yes.  Definitely glad I'm not having to make that decision.  And Jones is not just a liberal, but he's proud to stand with Planned Parenthood.  Which means he's owned 100% by the Planned Parenthood doctors.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@bu22 @SGTGrit @Robert1959


Lol. Such a crime to vote democrat isn't it. I think any fair-minded individual would have a hard time voting for Moore than voting democrat. Which a AL Dem is different from your standard Dem.