By: Jack Crowe
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady would not say definitively whether the impending GOP tax reform bill will lower the tax rate of every single American when pressed on the issue Wednesday morning.
Brady emphasized GOP leadership’s commitment to lowering rates for every income level and insisted all Americans would be “better off,” but declined to elaborate as to whether the plan would result in a reduced individual rate for every taxpayer.
When asked if he could guarantee every American would see their tax rate go down, Brady pointed out that the massive number of tax filers all but guaranteed there would be some instance where an individual might end up with an increased rate.
“I know there are millions of tax filers, that guarantees that there could be a singular exception that exists,” Brady told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “What I do know is that flattening out the brackets and lowering them at every level, lowering the rate sat which people are taxed, protecting more of the first dollars they earn means Americans can keep more of what they earn.”
When pressed further on the issue, Brady said the process in still ongoing and questions about the implications for every American would become clear when the text of the bill is released.
Brady’s unwillingness to make a blanket statement regarding the specifics of the tax rates is keeping with the position of GOP leadership in the months leading up to the massive legislative effort.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan took a similar stance during an Oct. 1 appearance on CBS’ “Face The Nation.”
“Well, I don’t know every single person’s little, small problem or issue,” Ryan said.
“So yes, people are going to get tax cuts. How big are those tax cuts? That depends on the individual,” he added.
Republicans have pledged to make sure every American, especially the middle class, will be “better off.”
The elimination of state and local deductions could result in middle class families in high tax states paying more overall despite a lower federal rate, some critics say.
Brady expects to reach a compromise on the issue.
“We believe the current tax system is pretty messed up,” Brady said. “It raises the tax rate on construction workers in the street and teachers in the classroom so that the wealthier in the CEO rooms can get a tax break.”
“We think there could be a better way, which is rather than shifting money from rural communities to cities and middle-income to higher income and state to state and keeping taxes high. We’re proposing lower tax rates for everybody, so Washington no longer punishes or rewards you based on where you live,” he added.
Brady and his Republican colleagues insist the elimination of itemized deductions and loopholes employed by corporations moving money overseas will stimulate growth and help the middle class.
When pressed on whether the new bill would require companies to dedicate revenue brought back from overseas to increasing wages and employee benefits, Brady said no. Money brought back to the states from abroad would benefit the U.S. economy regardless of where there funds are ultimately allocated, he explained.