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Republicans Push for Vote to Make Tax Cuts Permanent

Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) holds a sample of a postcard-style tax filing during a news conference April 17, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

WASHINGTON – Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called on the GOP-led Congress to support legislation to make the temporary individual tax cuts permanent since the tax reform package included an expiration date for the new tax rates in 2025.

“We ought to follow through to make the individual tax cuts permanent. We ought to follow through to make expensing permanent. We ought to follow through to make the small-business tax cuts permanent. We ought to keep moving forward and prioritizing jobs, jobs, jobs, because that’s the priority of the American people,” Cruz said during a press conference Thursday organized by Americans for Tax Reform.

“I don’t believe we should rest on our laurels. We accomplished a great deal in 2017 but we need to keep moving forward in 2018 and do more,” he added.

Cruz has proposed a bill that would “amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the individual tax rates in effect for taxable years 2018 through 2025.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday that a House vote on permanent individual tax cuts would be “something we will be acting on later this year.”

Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) agreed that Congress should make the lower tax rates permanent for all taxpayers.

“I think all of us here feel the same way and that we will do that,” Kustoff said.

Cruz also urged Congress to pass his bill that would eliminate the capital gains tax on inflation. He explained that if someone invests $1,000 and 10 years later sells the investment for $2,000, they are taxed on the full gain “ignoring” inflation.

Cruz predicted that passage of his bill would lead to more investors to provide capital to business, which would create more jobs.

“That would provide real relief to investors who are providing capital,” he said. “You would be taxed on actually what you gained, on the increase above and beyond inflation.”

ATR president Grover Norquist endorsed the Cruz bill on capital gains. He said ATR plans to work with lawmakers and the Trump administration to “build a case” for the legislation.

“To take inflation out of capital gains for individuals is to, in effect, cut the tax on capital gains in half and make it easier for people to sell houses, land and businesses,” he said.

Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), a member of the Ways and Means Committee, said the GOP has not done a “good enough job” promoting the benefits of the tax reform package that was passed in December. He disagreed with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who called the bonuses companies have paid from tax reform surpluses “crumbs.”

“I look at where we’re at today in terms of lowest unemployment in 40 years, we’ve created 2.8 million jobs in the last 14 months, look at the fact that we’re having more jobs and opportunities, private sector wages are going up and comprehensive tax reform helped with that,” LaHood said.

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), a member of the Ways and Means Committee, said the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act represents a stark difference with the “economics of envy” from the Democratic Party.

Roskam agreed with lawmakers who support making the new individual tax rates permanent. He also said the tax reform package was an “exoneration of this notion that growth is good.”

“Historically, Americans have not been a jealous people, that when people are successful around us what have we historically said: ‘How nice for you.’ And here’s why we say ‘how nice for you’: We think that could be me, that could be my children, that could be my grandchildren,” Roskam said. “Ultimately, we think there’s a trajectory there because the economics of envy, which the political left has argued is basically a cul-de-sac – it doesn’t lead anywhere.”