Democratic letter signals likely strong opposition to tax reform fixes

Tax Hot Topics newsletterDemocratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to Democratic House members warning them not to introduce any legislation with changes or fixes for the Republican tax reform bill (H.R. 1).

The letter criticizes the bill as rushed and flawed, but says that any proposed changes and fixes should only come after a full range of hearings and consideration. The letter signals that Democrats do not want to give Republicans any bipartisan cover to push changes by introducing bills Republicans could leverage. Democrats appear more likely to create a unified platform of replacement, and to block any Republican efforts for iterative fixes and technical corrections.

The move is not unexpected. Republicans took a similar approach after the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010. They blocked technical corrections bills, and ran on a platform of repealing and replacing the legislation altogether. Democrats appear poised to take a similar political stance in 2018.

The move diminishes chances Republicans can address many of the unintended results and technical glitches that are already being identifying. With only 51 votes in the Senate, Republicans are well short of the 60 votes needed to bypass procedural hurdles without Democratic support. The reconciliation process could potentially be used, but comes with restrictions, and precludes many purely technical corrections.

Contact Dustin Stamper
Director, Washington National Tax Office
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