Ignoring bad optics, GOP conferees transfer even more wealth to their wealthy plutocrat campaign donors (Updated)


Despite the fact that The Republican tax plan is the most unpopular bill in 30 years, GOP conferees are transfering even more wealth to their wealthy plutocrat campaign donors. Tea-Publicans simply do not care what this looks like to average Americans, they are obligated to deliver a quid pro quo to their wealthy plutocrat campaign donors. They are looting the treasury on behalf of the oligarchy.

CNBC reports, The Latest: GOP agrees to lower top tax rate for individuals:

Congressional aides say Republican negotiators have agreed to lower the top tax rate for individuals from 39.6 percent to 37 percent as the final parameters of a sweeping tax package are starting to take shape.

The agreement was confirmed by two congressional aides who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because they were not authorized to speak publicly about private negotiations.

The tax cut could be a windfall for the wealthiest Americans. It could also provide ammunition for Democrats who complain that the tax package is a massive giveaway to corporations and the rich.

* * *

Congressional aides say Republican negotiators have agreed to set the corporate income tax rate at 21 percent as part of last-minute negotiations on a sweeping tax package.

Both the Senate bill and the House bill would lower the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. But negotiators agreed to bump the rate up to 21 percent to offset revenue losses from other tax breaks, said two congressional aides.

The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss private negotiations.

Business and conservative groups have lobbied hard to keep the corporate rate at 20 percent.

Congressional aides say negotiators have agreed to scale back the mortgage interest deduction, which would allow homeowners to deduct interest on the first $750,000 of a new mortgage.

The provision is part of a massive tax package speeding toward passage as early as next week.

The House bill would limit the deduction to the first $500,000 of a new mortgage, while the Senate bill would keep the current limit of $1 million. Two congressional aides said negotiators have agreed to split the difference.

The provision would not affect current mortgages.

The Hill adds, GOP edges away from 20 percent corporate rate:

Republican negotiators have reached a tentative agreement to raise the corporate rate in their joint House-Senate tax bill from 20 to 21 percent as they seek revenue to pay for a variety of significant changes that could be sold as tax relief for individuals.

The higher corporate rate could pay for a reduction in the top individual rate, which Republicans are talking about lowering to 37 percent — beneath the current top rate of 39.6 percent and lower than the rates set by bills passed by the House and Senate this fall.

It could also pay for keeping more deductions for taxpayers, particularly in high-tax states that would be severely impacted by proposals to eliminate the state and local tax (SALT) deduction or a cap on the property tax deduction.

Even President Trump has reportedly heard complaints from friends in New York about cuts in deductions that were approved in the initial House and Senate bills.

“The House has a lot of asks to pay for,” said a Republican source briefed on the talks, referring to House lawmakers from high-tax states, such as New York and California, who worry the bill could hit their constituents.

Two GOP sources told The Hill that negotiators have tentatively agreed to the corporate rate of 21 percent — still a 14-point reduction from the current 35 percent rate.

Conservatives have fought to keep the 20 percent rate, and the hike is likely to encounter some resistance. One conferee noted that there has been no formal vote for conferees to sign off on any provisions in a final bill.

“We have not had a vote on any of these policies,” said Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

While Trump has expressed openness to raising the corporate rate higher than the 20 percent he has touted, many Republicans do not want to move from that threshold.

“I’d rather it stay where it is,” said Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), one of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents, when asked about sliding the proposed corporate rate from 20 to 21 percent.

Scott also said he would prefer to delay the implementation of the corporate rate cut to “preserve” the 20-percent rate.

Republicans have to find a way to pay for some of the other changes they are making, however.

To pass the tax-cut bill through the Senate under reconciliation budget rules that prevent Democrats from launching a filibuster, the bill’s cost cannot exceed $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

Lowering the top individual rate would cost money while fueling criticism from Democrats that the bill gives too much tax relief to high-income earners.

“That would be gold for us,” said a Senate Democratic aide.

But it would solve several problems, such as providing more help to the owners of pass-through businesses and reducing the disparity between those entities and corporations.

It could also help people living in high-tax states deal with the loss of higher deductions for local, state and property tax (SALT) deductions.

* * *

Scott said “there is discussion” about setting the top individual rate at 37 percent, noting “it helps business and it’s also an additive as it relates to SALT,” referring to proposals to limit the deductibility of state and local taxes.

Lowering the top individual rate would appeal to Senate and House conservatives who would be disappointed by shrinking the corporate tax cut.

But the idea is not sitting well with all Senate Republicans.

“This is not the Senate bill,” said one Republican senator who confirmed the discussion of the 37 percent rate and expressed concern.

Republicans control 52 seats in the Senate and cannot afford more than two defections from their conference and still pass the bill. Democrats are expected to oppose it unanimously.

There’s also strong support for allowing residents in New York, California and other high-tax states to deduct their state and local income taxes (SALT) or their property taxes up to a $10,000 cap.

Giving taxpayers greater flexibility to deduct the state and local taxes is an idea promoted by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), who is No. 2 in GOP leadership.

* * *

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a pivotal swing vote, has advocated for setting the corporate rate at 21 percent instead of 20 percent. She says business leaders have told her it would not affect investment significantly.

Collins, who supports keeping the top individual tax rate at 39.6 percent for families earning more than $1 million, declined to comment on the prospect of lowering it to 37 percent.

Negotiators have also agreed to adopt language included in the Senate bill that would repeal the federal mandate requiring people to buy health insurance, a core part of ObamaCare.

Whaaa? Where’s the side deal that the mythical moderate from Maine, Sen. Collins, claimed she was promised to stabilize the “Obamacare” health insurance markets? Oh that’s right, the House told her to go pound sand, you don’t have any stinkin’ deal with us! So what are you going to do now, Sen. Collins? Cave like you (almost) always do? Your worthless side deal was not part of the continuing resolution (CR) passed last week to keep the government funded as you were promised.

The developments come as top Senate Republicans signaled Tuesday that members of the House-Senate conference committee are on the cusp of locking down a final deal on their long-awaited goal of tax reform.

Republican and Democratic members of the Senate-House conference committee will meet at 2 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the bill.

They are not expected to have legislative text to mark up. Instead, the session will be devoted to making three-minute opening statements and asking questions of Tom Barthold, chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, about the bill’s costs.

Call your representative and senators today to object to this bill and urge him or her to vote against this terrible GOP tax bill.

UPDATE: Less than 24 hours after losing a senate seat in Alabama, the GOP in a panic agreed to a conference committee tax bill on Wednesday. Republicans Say They Have a Deal on Tax Bill:

House and Senate Republicans have reached an agreement, in principle, on a consensus tax bill, keeping the party on track for final votes next week with the aim of delivering a bill to President Trump’s desk by Christmas, according to people briefed on the deal.

Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the majority whip, told reporters that Republicans will be briefed on the deal today, and that he is confident it will be approved next week.

The agreement drops the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from the current 35 percent rate and will go into effect in 2018, rather than 2019, as the Senate bill originally called for, according to a senior Republican congressional aide. The bill also allows individuals to deduct up to $10,000 in state and local taxes, split between property taxes and either income or sales taxes paid. That move is intended to alleviate the concerns of House Republicans, particularly those from California, over the bill’s treatment of the state and local tax deduction.

Lawmakers also agreed to rescind the corporate alternative minimum tax, which was tucked into the Senate bill at the last minute as a way to pay for the $1.5 trillion bill. The inclusion of the corporate A.M.T. was criticized by many business groups, who said it would prohibit the ability of companies to use tax breaks such as the research and development tax credit.

The top individual income tax rate will drop to 37 percent, down from the current rate of 39.6 percent. But the rate will kick in for income levels below the $1 million cutoff outlined in both the House and Senate bills.

The conference bill will preserve the individual alternative minimum tax, which the House bill had eliminated and the Senate bill retained in a watered-down form. The conference version will apply to even fewer taxpayers than the Senate bill would have, the congressional aide said.

The agreement in principle appears to allow some high-earning business owners to claim an even larger tax break than the Senate bill would have. Negotiators agreed to keep the Senate’s approach to provide a tax deduction for so-called pass-through companies, whose owners pay taxes on profits through the individual code. That deduction will likely be lower than the 23 percent deduction in the Senate-passed bill.

But, the aide said, the conference bill will include a House provision that would allow some pass-through owners with few employees — but large amounts of investment in their businesses — to bypass a limit on how much income qualifies for the preferential deduction.

The conference bill would also largely retain the Senate approach to taxing multinational companies.

* * *

The agreement was finalized on Wednesday morning, hours before the first and only scheduled public meeting of the congressional conference committee formed to work out the differences between the House- and Senate-passed versions of the bill.

[T]hat group will meet Wednesday at 2 p.m. The meeting is expected to be largely ceremonial, however, as members worked out many of the details beforehand [behind closed doors in secret].

So where is Mr. “regular order” John McCain and Jeff Flake, who also complained about regular order to Ady Barkan on a recent flight. Hypocrites.

The push to pass the bill next week was sharply criticized by Democrats, who called on Republican leaders to slow what has been a sprint to pass the tax bill and wait for a newly-elected Democratic senator from Alabama, Doug Jones, to be seated before holding any more votes on the legislation.

The Washington Post adds:

Negotiators faced competing pressures that they had to address in order to build a coalition of support.

Wealthy Americans, many of whom were GOP donors, demanded the lower individual tax rate, something House Republicans pushed into the final package with the 37 percent rate.

Republicans in California, New York, and New Jersey demanded changes that would allow Americans to deduct more state and local taxes. This demand was also met, with negotiators allowing Americans to deduct up to $10,000 in property or income taxes.

* * *

Negotiators decided to lower the corporate rate to 21 percent to offset some of the cost of having the lower rate kick in immediately.

They also decided to move the top tax rate for individuals and families to 37 percent, a bigger rate cut for top earners than was proposed by either the House or Senate bill.

Republicans heard complaints from a number of wealthy Republicans in New York and California who argued they could see their taxes go up if the top rate wasn’t lowered, and Trump said last week the GOP might accommodate some of these concerns.

The mortgage-interest deduction would be changed to limit the benefit to interest paid on $750,000 in home loans, down from the $1 million limit currently in place.

The tax plan would also repeal the enforcement of a part of the Affordable Care Act that requires almost all Americans to have some form of health insurance or face a financial penalty. The repeal was part of the Senate bill but not included in the version that passed the House.

And the agreement would allow sole proprietors, partners, and others who run businesses through the individual income tax code to deduct 20 percent of their income before paying taxes.

* * *

The tax plan would lower rates on businesses and individuals, expand the Child Tax Credit, roughly double the standard deduction, and eliminate numerous tax deductions.

Many of the benefits for families and individuals would be temporary, expiring after a period of years. The tax breaks for most businesses, however, would be locked in permanently, a condition that Republicans have said will help firms make long-term investment decisions.

The package is expected to add at least $1 trillion to the debt over 10 years.

* * *

Even before Wednesday’s changes, multiple analyses have said the biggest benefits for the tax changes would fall to corporations and the wealthy. The benefits for the middle class would be more uneven, with most seeing a temporary tax cut but others seeing their taxes slightly increase.

It’s unclear if all Senate Republicans support the changes. The party can only afford to lose one more GOP vote if they hope to pass the agreement, as Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) already opposes the measure.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has expressed concern about lowering the top tax rate, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has complained that Republicans did not do more to further expand the Child Tax Credit. But neither has said whether they would oppose the bill.

Gutless unprincipled cowards.


  1. call flake mccain schweikert. really? most of the goppers in congress tell their voters tax cuts for our donors ;but know more free trade. and social issues and a better economy for the bottom half. unless your a child molester it seems to work so far. unfortunately obama’s economic recovery helped the top half more then the bottom half. good for democrat donor class not so much for working class voters in pa. mi. wi. ohio wv. az. mo. ect.

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