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House GOP Plans to Lobby Leaders on Key Tax Provisions

Estate tax and corporate rate addressed in letters

Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans are planning to pressure leaders from both chambers to maintain two key provisions in the House tax measure during conference negotiations, according to draft letters obtained by Roll Call.

The lobbying comes as the House and Senate try to bridge gaps between their two bills. While many provisions are similar, the differences in the two measures are stark and could require substantial revenue to reconcile.

One draft letter asks House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady to preserve a repeal of the estate tax in the final conference bill. The Senate bill would not repeal the tax but instead double the exemption on money left to heirs.

“We strongly urge you to pursue a solution in conference that repeals the estate tax. We are concerned about the current Senate plan, which falls short of the long term Republican goal by providing only temporary relief while leaving the death tax in place,” the letter reads.

The other, directed at Brady and Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, urges the tax panel leaders to allow the 20 percent corporate tax rate to go into effect in 2018. Under the Senate bill, the reduction in the business tax rate would not happen until 2019.

“Delaying an internationally competitive corporate rate could postpone economy-boosting corporate decisions and jeopardize the amount of immediate investment, reductions in capital costs, and GDP growth that a reduced rate is designed to achieve,” the letter reads.

The estate tax letter is led by Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio while the other by Ralph Norman of South Carolina, a source familiar with the effort said. Neither office immediately responded to request for comment.

Both changes would require significant revenue to offset costs, should the two chambers use the Senate tax bill as a baseline (which many GOP aides expect will happen). Reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent in 2018, for example, would cost $107.8 billion, according to an estimate from the Joint Committee on Taxation.

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