House Republicans bracing for November's midterm elections unveiled a second round of tax cuts on Monday that could add more than $2 trillion to the federal deficit over a decade, aiming to cement the steep cuts they passed last fall despite criticisms of fiscal profligacy and tailoring their policies to help the rich.
WASHINGTON-Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives plan to unveil another round of tax cuts this week, hoping to draw a sharp contrast between themselves and Democrats ahead of the November 6 congressional elections.
A committee-level vote is being planned by the House tax committee Chairman Kevin Brady on Thursday, Sept. 13.
Passage in the Senate would require a 60-vote supermajority because the legislation would add to the already burgeoning federal deficit. Starting in 2026, the cuts could cost the federal government about $165 billion annually in today's dollars, according to projections by the Tax Foundation, a conservative-leaning think tank. "Republicans gave Congress nearly a full decade to extend these individual tax cuts before they expire", notes The Washington Post's Jeff Stein, "but the law's mediocre polling numbers and the hard election outlook for House Republicans have increased their sense of urgency".
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Republicans insist Trump's tax overhaul and actions to deregulate industry are boosting the economy. "The Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act locks in the tax relief from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act - which included a almost doubled standard deduction, a doubled Child Tax Credit, lower rates across the board, and a historic 20-percent pass-through deduction for Main Street businesses". With Democratic candidates characterizing the law as a giveaway to large corporations, Republicans are trying to counter by drawing attention to its rate reductions for individual taxpayers. This has put Republican lawmakers in high-tax states like New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois and Minnesota in a hard position because they would either support a provision that would put their states in a vulnerable place or oppose a bill that is backed by their own party. So this is all about setting up political messaging at this point - and even there, it's not clear how much Republicans stand to gain, given that the first round of tax cuts hasn't been very popular and the new proposals open GOP lawmakers up to renewed criticism that they're willing to explode the deficit further to provide tax cuts that largely benefit the wealthiest Americans.
To the dismay of party leaders, the healthy economy and Trump have become countervailing forces.
Trump's low approval ratings nationwide come as his administration fights off allegations of chaos within his administration in Bob Woodward's new book, "Fear", as well as claims in a recent anonymous New York Times op-ed article of a "quiet resistance" against the president within the White House. A smaller share take the positive angle on each one, with 28% calling him more in touch, 27% more honest or less corrupt and 22% more intelligent.
A late August Washington Post-ABC News poll also found that Democrats have a 14-point advantage over Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections. Obama, who saw GDP growth of just over 1 percent, doubted that Trump could achieve 4 percent expansion. "I opened up our handsome economic engine with Regulation and Tax Cuts. Still plenty to do!"