A top House Republican on Wednesday predicted Congress would vote to pass a tax bill on Dec. 24, saying the effort to overhaul the tax code would go down to the wire.
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the House GOP chief deputy whip, said he expected both the House and Senate to finish work on a tax revamp bill on Christmas Eve.
Republicans are eager to make the most sweeping changes to the tax code since 1986 and are desperate to prove their ability to pass major legislation with unified control of the government.
McHenry pressed the need for tax reform at an event organized by Financial Services Roundtable, a leading lobbying group for the financial services industry. The deputy whip asked the audience of Washington policy leaders and lobbyists to judge the Republican tax package by its total effect, not whether it includes a certain deduction or rider.
“Don’t let individual provisions drive your activism,” McHenry said, calling tax cuts “a powerful element” that could boost economic growth.
“We’ve seen the middle class left behind over the past 30 years in America.” McHenry said. “There is a real motivation around this, both for families and large businesses.”
Republicans are pushing to release an initial template of tax-reform legislation, called the chairman’s mark, within the next few weeks. A broad outline of proposed rate cuts and deduction changes released by GOP leaders and the White House won broad support from Republicans and groups supporting their tax revamp effort.
The GOP now faces what’s considered that hardest part of tax reform. Lawmakers must decide how to pay for the plan while armies of lobbyists move to protect deductions treasured by powerful industries and constituencies.
McHenry warned that “building complexity back into the tax code” could derail tax-reform efforts that have been widely supported by business advocacy groups and U.S. corporate leaders.
“I know you’re not going to stop lobbying on individual positions," McHenry said. “The net benefit is something you need to go back and sell.”