House GOP moves to lock in tax cuts

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In a troubling sign for Republicans less than two months before November's elections, Democrats' advantage on the question of which party Americans are more likely to vote for in November is ballooning, according to a new NPR/Marist poll.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, the 2.0 package's main author, plans to unveil draft language for three bills early in the week and put it to a committee-level vote on September 13, with a full House vote following by Oct 1.

Several Republican House members, facing tough re-election fights in high-tax, Democratic-leaning states like NY and New Jersey, voted against the tax legislation a year ago and would prefer to do without this new version as well.

House Republicans have unveiled an updated version of the tax cuts law that passed previous year, an effort they have dubbed "Tax Reform 2.0".

Republicans gave Congress nearly a full decade to extend these individual tax cuts before they expire, but the law's mediocre polling numbers and the hard election outlook for House Republicans have increased their sense of urgency.

Latest statements from Axios' White House source point to the same conclusion: Trump is starting to realize the full scope of a potential Democratic takeover of the House.

The most controversial provision in the bill is SALT, which caps deductions for state individual income sales and property taxes. Deficit hawks as well as Democratic lawmakers - who were unanimous in opposing the tax legislation a year ago - are asking how the Republicans intend to pay for the extended tax cuts. One would make tax rules governing retirement and education savings more flexible, while the other would provide bigger tax breaks to start-up companies.

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House Republican leaders are portraying the second crack at tax cuts as championing the middle class and small businesses.

Waning support for Trump, and the GOP, in the Midwest may owe much to impacts the president's policies have had on the region.

Critics have said the proposed changes would primarily benefit the wealthiest taxpayers, while Republicans have argued their tax cuts help fuel the American economy by putting more money in consumers' hands.

That number could rise if Republicans made an estimated $1.1 trillion in individual tax cuts permanent, but scaled back or eliminated the SALT deduction cap, which is a revenue raiser.

If that happens, it would be the first time since 2012 the US economy would have to support such a large deficit, highlighting a basic shift for the Republican Party, which once prided itself on fiscal conservatism.

Three bills make up the legislation package: the Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act, the Family Savings Act, and the American Innovation Act. National Federation of Independent Business survey found that 32 percent of small businesses said that now is a good time to expand, nearly triple the 11 percent recorded by the same survey in November 2016. The United States economy created 3.5 million jobs since Trump took office, according to the White House. Obama, who saw GDP growth of just over 1 percent, doubted that Trump could achieve 4 percent expansion.

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