Sen. Grassley questions the Congressional Research Service’ report on the TCJA. The Senate Finance Committee Chairman says the CRS finding that the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act had little to no first -year impact on the economy was misleading and biased. Wrote Grassley: “If CRS wishes to produce original research analysis that takes a position and tone that is favorable to one side of a debate, without balancing it with alternative objective views, then CRS ought not to present its analysis as objective, nonpartisan, and authoritative.” Grassley asked for a meeting between the Finance staff and CRS staff.
A TCJA technical corrections bill…later. Politico reports that late in the Ways & Means Committee’s marathon Thursday markup of a package of tax bills, chairman Richard Neal promised he’d move a TCJA technical corrections bill later this year. Not clear what will be in it, or whether it would eventually get wrapped up in the bills approved by the panel last week. They include expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and extensions or restoration of dozens of special interest tax breaks.
House Dems can’t figure out what to do about the SALT cap, but they will talk about it. The Ways & Means subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures holds a hearing tomorrow morning on the TCJA’s state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap. In the afternoon, it holds a members’ day hearing on the SALT cap, where it will hear about proposals to change the limit.
Elsewhere on the Hill tomorrow. The House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Trade holds a hearing tomorrow morning on Mexico’s labor reform and the opportunities and challenges it presents in improving a North American Free Trade Agreement.
“Patriot farmers” are feeling Trump-tariff pain. The Washington Post reports from Orient, South Dakota, population 63. The national farm aid bill worth $14.5 billion, designed to offset losses from the trade war with China, is like “is like putting a Band-Aid on a bleeding artery,” said a local veterinarian. In the small town more than a dozen famers could not secure renewal of operating loans for the coming year. Agriculture exports—largely soybeans—from South Dakota to the state to China fell 40 percent last year.
Who’ll be repping the White House at the budget negotiating table? If Senate Republicans get their way, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will represent the White House, not White House Chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. GOP lawmakers see Mnuchin as more likely than Mulvaney to back a two-year spending deal that prevents a government shutdown until after the 2020 election and raises the debt limit. Relations between Mulvaney, a former member of the House, and GOP senators are said to be strained.
Health Savings Accounts: A nice tax break that may not reduce health care spending… TPC’s Howard Gleckman reviews a new study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. In theory, if a patient combines a tax-free Health Savings Account with a high-deductible insurance plan, she’ll reduce her medical spending. High-deductible plans do lower spending on health care. But the researchers found that HSA participants with relatively high balances were more likely than those with low or zero balances to use many medical services. This reduces any cost savings from the high-deductible insurance plans. The study did not find that participants were putting aside extra money in anticipation of large medical expenses.
Celebrating the work of Alan Krueger. The former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers passed away in March. On Wednesday, June 26 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, The Hutchins Center at Brookings and the Economic Policy Institute will celebrate his work and discuss its implications for current issues in economic policy. Register for the event or webcast here.
For the latest tax news, subscribe to the Tax Policy Center’s Daily Deduction. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox weekdays at 8:00 am (Mondays only when Congress is in recess). We welcome tips on new research or other news. Email Renu Zaretsky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posts and comments are solely the opinion of the author and not that of the Tax Policy Center, Urban Institute, or Brookings Institution.
- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.