Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, on Friday rejected the bipartisan child tax credit and business tax bill, saying he hoped it would never come to a vote.
The bill in question passed the House 357-70, but is struggling in the Senate amid growing criticism from Republicans. Leadership has not yet decided whether to consider the bill in the Finance Committee or hold a floor vote.
“If it died, I'd be happy,” Tillis said in an interview. washington examiner.
Tillis said he is unhappy with several aspects of the $78 billion bill and, after discussing it with other members of the Finance Committee, believes other Republicans share his views. . He said the only way that would be viable is if the price range changed significantly, and as it stands, “every single Republican member of Congress is going to fight against that.”
Tillis said the chances of passage of the bill are shrinking as this week progresses.
“I think we failed to reach orbit,” Tillis said. “And I hope it collapses again.”
A senior aide familiar with the negotiations said the bill's progress is in jeopardy.
“Members of the House are still very much aware that this bill has a single-digit chance of passing or even being considered in the Senate, and that significant changes will be needed at the committee level before the bill can be passed.” They don’t understand,” the aide said.of washington examiner.
Tillis' biggest concern is a provision in the bill aimed at paying for the tax cuts.
The bill would be paid for through pandemic-era changes to the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC). This adds stronger enforcement and penalties related to fraudulent ERC claims and results in earlier termination of claim processing.
Congress's in-house tax scorekeeper, the Joint Committee on Taxation, estimates that the ERC changes would result in savings of just over $77 billion, making the entire bill deficit-neutral. But some Senate Republicans, like Tillis, believe the provision is deceptive because it would only roll back pandemic-era programs that had already increased debt.
“How on earth can you get an employee retention tax credit as a benefit for a coronavirus-era program that has no benefits,” Tills said, adding that the program ended up costing far more than expected. The fraud is widespread.
“Hey, here's a hint: We should track down fraudulent payments and bring them back to the Treasury,” he said. “It's just a gimmick.”
The bill would allow parents to calculate child tax credits for this year and next based on their income from the previous year. Some conservative groups and lawmakers say the provision will force some parents to quit their jobs in the coming years, but supporters of the bill pushback, calling the idea a red herring. are doing.
Further complicating matters is that this is an election year. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a member of the Finance Committee, argues that expanding the child tax credit during an election year could increase President Joe Biden's chances of staying in office. did. Mr. Biden has already endorsed the bill, making the politics surrounding it complicated.
“If we pass a tax bill that looks good on the president and mails the checks before the election, that means he can be re-elected, and we won't extend the 2017 tax cuts,” Grassley said. he said in response to a question. semaphores and HuffPost.
Still, even if the bill fails in the Senate, the overwhelming bipartisan passage of this tax package is backed by House Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (R-Missouri), who negotiated the bill directly with the Senate Finance Committee chairman. It is a legislative victory for the state) in an election year. Ron Wyden (D-OR).
In addition to expanding the child tax credit, the law includes several business provisions. This would extend two major tax breaks for investments that were included in the 2017 Republican tax reform but have since expired. Recovering write-offs is a priority for the corporate world.
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Tillis said he hopes Congress can accept the “transformative” tax provisions that have expired and extend them next year. But he said he doesn't think the bill, in its current form, will be the preferred path for Senate Republicans.
“What you want to talk about is the child tax credit bill that basically comes with tax breaks for everything we've done. [the 2017 tax bill]? ” Tillis said. “We'll talk about it and figure out how to pay for it. But I would say this is an idea baked in philanthropy, not half-baked.”