Republicans were so desperate to pass their tax bill that it ended up being rife with errors. Now one of the bill’s drafters has finally admitted what a mess it is — and wants Democrats to help fix it.
According to a report in Politico, the tax bill accidentally made several business deductions impossible to claim. It lets money managers dodge the new “carried interest” tax. And it “creates two different start dates for new rules that make it harder for businesses to shave their tax bills.”
The bill’s glitches hit “everything from real estate investments to multinational corporations to farmers,” Politico noted.
Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, a key architect of the bill, finally admitted it broke the tax code. And he promised to “develop a punch list of provisions that need to be addressed.”
But in order to address those issues, they need Democratic votes. And that might prove difficult, because Democrats have no incentive to make a bad bill worse.
Second, polls show that while the tax bill has gained some support, it is still divisive, and most Americans are still not benefiting from it. Indeed, some companies used their tax breaks to lay off workers, while others used them to lavish Wall Street investors with billions in stock buy backs.
And a report suggesting California insurance premiums will spike up to 30 percent next year, due in part to the tax bill, won’t improve the bill’s popularity.
The bill is unpopular in California, especially in swing districts with embattled Republican incumbents. In Rep. Steve Knight’s district, which includes northern Los Angeles County, 83 percent of voters have concerns about the impact of the tax bill.
If Republicans want Democratic votes, they will likely have to accede to major changes to the bill. Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown made this clear when he said, “We want to make the bill better, not just correct whatever technical fix is needed.”
Republicans have two choices. They can accept input from Democrats to redirect the tax bill toward helping working families. Or they can do nothing and let the bill’s glitches hurt the very businesses that lobbied for it.
Either way, they are in the hot seat for a crisis of their own making — and they are finally starting to admit it.