Congressional Republicans released a long-awaited tax-cut bill Thursday, setting up the next big-issue debate in Washington politics.

In unveiling the plan, Republican leaders promised the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would give breaks to middle-class taxpayers. A family of four would save $1,182 a year, for example, House Speaker Paul Ryan said.

The plan also reduces corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 20 percent and simplifies the tax code by reducing the number of tax brackets.

House Republicans, still searching for their first meaningful legislative victory since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, largely stood behind the plan as it was unveiled, although some said it still needed work.

U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, of Friendswood, said in a prepared statement that he was excited to “discuss the details with my constituents and colleagues.”

“The federal tax code is 70,000 pages long,” Weber said. “That’s more than twice as long as the Bible, with none of the good news.”

Weber is one of the most conservative members of Congress. In the past, he has campaigned on reducing deficit spending, telling the Houston Chronicle in 2012, that Congress needed “to get our spending under control before we lose our country.”

Early analyses of the new tax plan estimate it will add $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years. If it adds any more than that it would violate a budget rule Republicans put in place, and would open the tax plan to being filibustered.

Weber would not say whether he would vote for a bill that increases the deficit. He compared the upcoming taxation debate to the World Series.

“Through fixing our broken tax code, we will have more money back in our pockets and be able to further invest in our economy,” he said. “There will be growing pains.”

Republicans argue the tax cuts would promote faster business growth, and bring additional revenues in the long-term.

Among the more controversial measures in the tax plan that could divide Republicans is a proposed limitation on mortgage interest deductions, allowing the breaks to go only to new home loans of $500,000 or less.

Representatives in states with high property values such as New York and California, may be protective of that deduction.

The plan would also limit to $10,000 the amount of local property taxes that could he deducted from federal tax returns. Earlier versions of the plan had proposed doing away with the property tax exemption altogether, which was opposed by groups such as the Texas Association of Realtors.

“Texas has relatively high property tax rates, and homeowners can benefit greatly from an itemized exemption of their property taxes,” the group said. “A repeal of the property tax exemption would then be worse for homeowners in Texas compared to homeowners in other states.”

The tax plan still needs to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office.

Trump has said he wants the tax plan on his desk by Christmas.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

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(13) comments

Diane Turski

I would be very interested in hearing Weber's "discussion with his constituents", of which I am one, since this bill is clearly nothing more than a huge tax cut for the wealthy at the expense of everyone else! It is past time for our representatives to start voting country over party and stop being deficit hypocrites!!

Carlos Ponce

"Senate Democrats falsely claim GOP tax plan will raise taxes for most working-class families"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/11/02/senate-democrats-falsely-claim-gop-tax-plan-will-raise-taxes-for-most-working-class-families/
The uber Liberal Washington post gives Democrats FOUR Pinocchios.
"In their haste to condemn the GOP tax plan, Democrats have spread far and wide the false claim that families making less than $86,100 on average will face a hefty tax hike. Actually, it’s the opposite. Most families in that income range would get a tax cut. Any Democrat who spread this claim should delete their tweets and make clear they were in error."
"Republicans want Tax cuts for the rich". How many times have we heard that Liberal mantra? Too many.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [The uber Liberal Washington post gives Democrats FOUR Pinocchios. ]

For one single factoid. How about the bigger picture Carlos?

Tax reform? No, tax cuts for the wealthy. Just like the zombie TrumpCare this tax cut was cobbled together at the last moment with no serious study and no hearings.

The GOP tax cut would give huge tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy, especially to their wealthy heirs. See: Trump Family.

To pay for the super rich's tax cut you get to blow a multi-trillion dollar hole in the budget. Remember the budget Carlos, the thing the entire GOP swooned over and claimed was about to destroy America during the Obama presidency? Now all that concern just disappears like a Trump promise. Budgets? Pshaw.

Pay for it? Well they promise to end deductions for some state and local taxes, limiting deductions for mortgage interest, phasing out child tax credits. Who gets to pay for those Carlos?

Oh, and you need 60 votes to pass this turkey.

Carlos Ponce

Little Marky is stating his opinion. That's okay, just pure speculation, no FACTS in it. Quit acting as if they are.
By the way what do you think of Donna Brazile's revelations?
https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/11/02/clinton-brazile-hacks-2016-215774
Or what about Elizabeth Warren's contention that that the Democratic primaries were rigged?
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/11/02/politics/elizabeth-warren-dnc-rigged/index.html
They screwed over your man Bernie but good.
The websites provided are on the Liberal approved list, Politico and CNN. So don't blame FOX on this one.[beam]

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [Little Marky is stating his opinion. That's okay, just pure speculation, no FACTS in it. Quit acting as if they are.]

Which part of my informed opinion do you have a problem with Carlos? Can you cite any credible evidence to the contrary?

Randy Chapman

Just cut back on welfare for those that have more than 2 children while on the program. Should be lots of savings.

Mark Aaron

Randy: [Just cut back on welfare for those that have more than 2 children while on the program.]

So your solution is to punish the children?

Gary Miller

Tax Cuts? Good or bad? BAD If government takes more from the economy. GOOD If government lets the economy keep more. Said differently? IT makes little difference who gets a tax cut as long as the economy is stimulated. When a welfare client gets a job his taxes will increase. The economy will spend less and earn more. When the poor learn the Rich have their wealth tied up in businesses and employees they could hope for a personal tax increase paid for with a tax cut for employers.

Mark Aaron

Gary: [Tax Cuts? Good or bad? BAD If government takes more from the economy. GOOD If government lets the economy keep more.]

Up until this time last year the budget was all the rage for the GOP. The deficit was supposed to be a massive burden on our children. Now, when the economy is stable, we suddenly need to forget about the budget and give massive tax cuts for the wealthy to stimulate the economy when neither need it. Better yet, put that income to good use on upgrading our national infrastructure. Think of all of the jobs that would create. Way more than a tax cut for the wealthy and their heirs ever would.

PD Hyatt

Still not for sure why if the congress critters wants to simplify the tax code they should cut everyone to 10% and no deductions. If they want to balance the budget they could start by repealing their part of Obama Care.... The Congress critters and their aides get gold standard healthcare that we pay 74% of the cost and they pay no deductible.... then we ought to cut all of the foreign aide that we give out to many nations of this world.... both sides are to blame as both sides give away tons of our money to people who should not be getting it.... Like all of the people who are flooding our nations borders who get welfare and SNAP which is insane....

Jim Forsythe

What does, Donna Brazile and Elizabeth Warren have to do with Trump's tax plan?

How many people that make  Median income or less, helped write the new tax proposal?
Will the winners be the average person , or a person with a lot of money?
What your total tax bill will be under this plan, will be clear in a few years, if passed!  Do you think the amount you pay will be less?
However, in the coming years, the government will need to borrow more to support Social Security. In other words, Trump’s tax plan to stimulate the domestic economy will increase the debt burden considerably, raising questions about its sustainability

Republicans in states like New York, New Jersey, and California has been the proposed elimination of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction. The benefit allows people to deduct those taxes from their federal bill. Brady said Tuesday the GOP reached a deal that would allow people to deduct state and local property taxes up to $10,000 but not income or sales taxes.

Single parent households. While loudly trumpeting the doubling of the standard deduction, the Trump plan would not be kind to single parents. It would eliminate the rate structure for single-parent households, which now splits the difference between married taxpayers and singles without children. Millions would suffer
Larger families.  Trump's plan would roughly double the "standard deduction" given to taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions, from roughly $6000 to $12,000 for single persons, twice as much for married couples. But the plan would also eliminate personal exemptions, presently roughly $4,000 per person, including children. So there is a net gain of $2,000 for single persons. Married couples without children gain $4,000 on net ($12,000 in rise in standard deduction, but $8,000 in losses from removing their exemptions.) Having a single child makes the change neutral (gain $12,000, lose $12,000), and having more than one child makes your family a loser. Some of this effect will be affected by the raise in the lower bracket from 10% to 12% and the as-yet unspecified increase in the child credit, but larger families will still lose out in this math.

Independent Sector worries charities would suffer because the bill’s expansion of the standard deduction means far fewer people would take an itemized deduction for charitable giving.  

It would also kill long-standing breaks for adoptions, and for student loan interest costs. Private universities would face a new 1.4 percent tax on their investment earnings from their endowments. The Work Opportunity Credit, which encourages businesses to hire veterans, would be eliminated. So too would the New Markets Tax credit,which encourages investment in poor areas.

Elimination of the student-loan-interest deduction: The amount paid toward student loan interest can currently be deducted.
Elimination of the medical-expense deduction: Under current law, individuals who spend over 10% of their income on medical expenses are allowed to deduct part of those costs from their taxes. The proposed new bill would remove that deduction.
Elimination of the moving deduction: This allows anyone who moved to a new home in the past year to deduct moving expenses.
Elimination of alimony-payment deduction.

Repeal of the alternative minimum tax (AMT). The tax, which forces people who qualify because of an outsized number of deductions, would be eliminated under the legislation. Incidentally,Trump's own tax bill has been shown to be millions of dollars more because of the tax. .
Repeal the Johnson Amendment. The current rule prevents tax-exempt nonprofits from making explicit election endorsements.

Josh Butler

Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

Mark Aaron

Josh: [Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. ]

It has both, and more. We under-tax the wealthy and spend too much on the military and far too little on infrastructure.

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