Today on the Hill: Congress Reacts to Tax Bill as GOP Considers Including Individual Mandate Repeal; House to Vote on CHIP Reauthorization

Washington is still rifling through the details of the tax package released by House Republicans yesterday, with House Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX) aiming to start a markup for the bill on Monday. The bill — which is detailed in full in the attached TRP note — was warmly received by most Republicans yesterday, although a number of policy divides will still need to be mended before the bill hits the House floor. Among the provisions that are splitting different groups of Republicans are the cap on the mortgage interest deduction, the elimination of the state and local tax deduction, and the details of the rules governing taxes pass-through businesses. Additionally, Republican lawmakers are reportedly considering a repeal of the individual mandate in the tax package, which would face a serious uphill political battle, but also offer another $400 billion in savings due to fewer people signing up for insurance and using government subsidies. A chairman’s mark of the bill is expected today that will provide technical fixes to the text ahead of Monday’s markup.

House lawmakers have a rare Friday vote teed up today on a bill (H.R. 3922) to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and provide a series of ‘extenders’ for the Medicare program. Despite bipartisan agreement on the need for reauthorization of CHIP, the bill is expected to see a highly partisan vote over the inclusion of a provision that would change the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by shortening the window that people can pay their premiums on ACA plans. For that reason, the bill may face a difficult challenge in the Senate, where 60 votes will be required to avoid a Democratic filibuster.

The Senate has left town after approving the last of their batch of four high-level judicial nominees yesterday. The chamber will return Monday to begin considering a set of less-contentious nominees for the Departments of Justice, Labor, Transportation, and Defense.