GOP leaders unveil key details in new tax plan

WASHINGTON — House Republicans unveiled key details and the text behind their tax legislation Thursday, with House Speaker Paul Ryan pitching the plan as much-needed economic aid for the middle class.

The Wisconsin Republican described the proposal to the public as a break aimed at helping most Americans.

“It’s very clear and obvious that the whole purpose of this is a middle-class tax cut,” Ryan said in an interview with CNN’s Phil Mattingly, shortly after the bill was made public. “And more to the point, we need to get faster economic growth.”

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady said during the news conference that the tax bill “has President (Donald) Trump’s full support.”

Read the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”

In advance of the bill’s release — which will be called the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” according to a source in a meeting with GOP members Thursday — a source shared a summary of the plan, which would permanently lowers the corporate tax rate to 20% and limit the home interest deduction to loans up to $500,000.

The bill would also increase the standard deduction for individuals and households, repeal the alternative minimum tax and increase the child tax credit to $1,600. The House GOP bill will also repeal the estate tax in 2024.

Details unveiled in advance of the bill’s release showed individuals would still be able to deduct their local and state property taxes, but only up to $10,000.

What the tax reform means for you, your family

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, notes he’s from a state with high state and local taxes and says lawmakers pushing for changes need to take a broader look at how the reform package will benefit their constituents.

“What’s happening is people are looking at this as one item instead of looking at everything we are doing, lowering the rate, doubling the standard deduction,” McCarthy told CNN. “You’re better off with this.”

Members started the process of reviewing the tax framework Thursday morning when the House Ways and Means Committee released its bill.

Tax reform FAQs

Now, the hard work begins of both selling the bill and keeping special interests at bay. Many lobbyists on K Street and outside groups admit the GOP lawmakers have kept a tight lid on the process. Once groups see what has been cut and what has been saved, winners and losers will be defined and the fight to preserve valuable tax breaks will begin. Over the weekend, one group, the National Association of Home Builders, already came out against the not-even-released bill.

The legislation has also struck a nerve with a group of New Jersey and New York Republicans who are opposed to rolling back a popular local and state tax deduction known as SALT. Brady already made a key concession when he said that he will still allow individuals to deduct their property taxes in the new bill. But that still wasn’t enough for some who wanted to see the income deduction restored as well.

“We are not there yet,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Republican from New York told reporters just hours before the bill was released.