Republicans Delay Releasing Tax Bill, Signaling Trouble for Party

The New York Times

Oct. 31, 2017

By Jim Tankersley, Thomas Kaplan, and Alan Rappeport

House Republicans delayed the rollout of their tax bill late on Tuesday, in a sign of early trouble for what party leaders had hoped would be a quick victory.

The bill, which had been scheduled for release on Wednesday, was delayed until Thursday, as Republicans struggled with the daunting arithmetic of drastically cutting tax rates without alienating key constituencies by eliminating popular tax breaks. After a day of negotiations on Capitol Hill and confusion across Washington, the House’s chief tax writer acknowledged the delay but vowed to stay on track with an ambitious plan to pass a bill through the chamber by Thanksgiving.

“In consultation with President Trump and our leadership team, we have decided to release the bill text on Thursday,” the tax writer, Representative Kevin Brady, Republican of Texas and the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement. “We are pleased with the progress we are making, and we remain on schedule to take action and approve a bill at our committee beginning next week.”

Even if the delay does not throw the Republican schedule off course, it signals potential difficulties ahead for a bill that Republicans are attempting to pass on a party-line basis, over what appear most likely to be loud objections from some business groups — and relentless criticism from Democrats.

“When one party tries to rush through a bill of this significance that was drafted in secret without a single public hearing, you can expect outcomes like this,” said Representative Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee. “Republicans should slow down, work through the regular legislative order and do this right, not fast.”

As Republicans rushed to lock down support from their members and key interest groups earlier on Tuesday, some new details of the bill began to trickle out.

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