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White House Plans to Release Phase 2 Tax Package by Summer’s End

POSTED ON May 29, 2018

The White House is working with House and Senate taxwriters to draft a second round of tax cuts, with the goal of releasing a legislative package before the summer is out, a top White House official said.

“We are looking and running numbers on several different components that are probably more focused on the individual side,” White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short told reporters on a May 25 conference call. “It’s probably toward the end of summer that that will be unveiled,” he said.

Short said making permanent the individual tax cuts — most of which sunset by 2026 — is the top priority, and that there is a “larger package” being worked on with “more that we’d like to do.” However, he declined to go into detail on what other changes might be included, saying he didn’t want to get ahead of negotiations.

Also left unsaid was how Republicans intend to offset a second round of tax cuts, if at all. A Congressional Budget Office report released May 24 indicated that merely extending the expiring individual income tax and estate and gift tax provisions through 2028 would reduce revenue by an additional $604 billion over the 10-year budget window.

House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, R-Texas, has frequently suggested that he will pursue a “phase two” tax bill that, in addition to making the individual and estate tax provisions permanent, could broach changes to retirement savings or the treatment of capital gains.

Short also said that while legislative activity in Congress often grinds to a halt during the summer before midterm election cycles, with lawmakers eager to get back to campaigning in their districts, the White House still has an “ambitious agenda ahead this summer.”

The Trump administration wants to see progress made on other legislative priorities, including appropriations and Senate confirmations of White House nominees, Short said, adding that he was “encouraged by some of the sentiment in the Senate” to stay in Washington for longer this summer. The decision to extend their stay in D.C. belongs to the Senate, he continued, but he didn’t rule out the possibility of President Trump formally requesting that Congress “stay here and get its job done.”

The Senate Finance Committee has yet to take up the nominations of Charles Rettig as IRS Commissioner or Michael J. Desmond as IRS chief counsel, and a House Appropriations subcommittee approved an IRS funding bill May 24.

Follow Jonathan Curry (@jtcurry005) on Twitter for real-time updates.