House Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX) is set to release the long-awaited House Republican plan to overhaul the nation’s tax code this morning. The details reveal that the plan aims to preserve the top individual tax bracket of 39.6% and phase out the estate tax rather than repealing it immediately – both measures that would reduce savings for the nation’s wealthiest individuals. Republicans also plan to curtail the deductions individuals take for state and local tax payments and the ones businesses get for the interest they pay on debt. However, the plan appears to stop short of touching other popular tax breaks that were being considered for change, such as the ability of individuals to park up to $18,000 a year in pretax funds into 401(k) savings accounts.
On the House floor, lawmakers are slated to consider a bill (H.R. 849) that would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The IPAB was established by the Affordable Care Act to submit Medicare spending plans to Congress if projected spending growth exceeds specified targets. The IPAB members have not yet been appointed and the spending threshold that would trigger its activity has not been crossed. However, repeal of the IPAB has long been a conservative goal and was called for by President Trump in his FY 2018 budget proposal. The partisan measure passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee last week by a 24-13 vote, and is expected to pass along party lines when it hits the floor of the House later today.
Last night, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Joan Larsen to join the U.S. Sixth Circuit and invoked cloture on debate for Allison Eid’s nomination to join the Tenth Circuit The upper chamber continues its judicial nomination blitz today with a final up-or-down vote on Eid’s nomination, as well as a motion to invoke cloture on the nomination of Stephanos Bibas to join the Third Circuit.