Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee advanced their Tax Reform 2.0 package of measures Thursday, including one that makes permanent President Donald Trump’s tax cuts that Congress approved in December 2017.
“With nearly 1.7 million new jobs created since January and wages rising at their fastest rate in nine years, so many Americans are hopeful again about their financial future,” House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said during the panel’s lengthy hearing to debate and vote on the package.
“But we can’t just stop there. We must keep building off the momentum from last year’s tax reform to ensure our economy keeps booming,” Brady said.
The committee first passed the Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act, which makes the individual Trump tax cuts permanent. The panel then approved the Family Savings Act, which is designed to encourage family and retirement savings.
The committee ended the day by approving the American Innovation Act of 2018, which is intended to spur business innovations. Together, the three measures constitute the Tax Reform 2.0 package.
Trump and congressional Republicans focused on reducing tax rates on individuals and businesses, deregulating the economy and reworking international trade deals to boost economic growth. The December 2017 measure provided the rate cuts, but the reductions could not be made permanent due to a budget technicality.
The economy has boomed since December, with economic growth hitting 4.2 percent in the second quarter. Unemployment is at record low levels, new jobs are being created, and the stock market is enjoying big gains. There have also been hundreds of companies that have raised wages, given employees bonuses, and invested in new facilities in response to the cuts.
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Democrats including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have claimed the legislation passed last year helped the wealthy while doing little for everybody else. The Democrats have made the same arguments against Tax Reform 2.0.
“The Republican law that was enacted last year will provide those earning over a million dollars a year an average aggregate tax cut of over $64,000 while the same legislation provided Americans earning $50,000 or less an aggregate tax cut of less than $200,” Sander Levin (D-Mich.) said during the meeting on the proposal.
“And as the distribution tables show, this second bill does not in any way undercut this assessment,” Levin said.