House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) is insisting that a second round of tax cuts (dubbed “Tax Cuts 2.0”) is a real thing. If Brady’s recent statements to reporters were to be taken seriously, Tax Cuts 2.0 would involve more than just making permanent the individual tax cuts enacted in 2017. The chairman is reportedly looking to include provisions that would make it easier for businesses to provide tuition assistance to workers; encourage Americans to save for retirement (Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act of 2018); increase access to health savings accounts; and provide technical corrections. The chairman has not committed to a timeline for the bill introduction of Tax Cuts 2.0
As the Tax Policy Update team has said before, Tax Cuts 2.0, despite Brady’s enthusiasm, is nothing more than a political messaging exercise for the GOP ahead of the midterm elections. Even if such a bill could clear the House, it would not get far in the Senate without Democratic support — Republicans can’t rely on budget reconciliation procedures again to force it through the chamber, given that Congress is not expected to agree on a budget resolution this year.
To be fair, Republicans are well aware that Tax Cuts 2.0 has little chance of getting to the president’s desk this year, but that doesn’t mean they can’t force their Democratic colleagues to take a tough vote this summer.