House Republicans took a major step toward pro-growth, pro-family tax reform this week when Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and all Ways and Means Committee Republicans introduced the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act– transformational legislation to overhaul America’s outdated tax code, deliver meaningful tax relief, and significantly strengthen our economy for the first time in over three decades.
As Chairman Brady said in his first interview after unveiling the bill with Neil Cavuto:
“This is a big win for families, their paychecks have been stagnant for way too long.”
As with any legislation that marks a dramatic departure from the status quo – there are bound to be misconceptions about how each reform will affect the American people. That’s why Chairman Brady took to the airwaves this week to dispel the most misleading claims about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Claim: This bill raises taxes on the middle class.
Brady on FOX Business with Maria Bartiromo: “Let me quote the Washington Post that gave [the Democrat] claim about a tax on the middle class 4 Pinocchios. It’s simply not true, and the American people get this. Look, when you lower these tax rates. When you simplify the code so much so 9 out of 10 Americans are filing on a postcard-style system. There’s a simplicity and a fairness that’s missing from the current tax code. Middle-class Americans get that … their paychecks have been stuck flat for a decade. They know if we can get our businesses competitive, it is good for them … I think there is a disconnect between Democrats up here in Washington and real people back home.”
Brady on CNN with Wolf Blitzer: “We lower the 12% rate to zero because we double the standard deduction. That protects all that tax free for families that had taxable [income] before. Then we lower the rates at every level … Let’s get away from the talking points. Let’s look at this reform as it helps families. Because at the end of the day, I don’t know who defends the status quo around here on the tax code, other than Washington. We need a fresh start.”
Claim: This bill primarily benefits wealthy Americans.
Brady on MSNBC with Chuck Todd: “[This is] baloney. And don’t take my word for it. That same thing you just laid out – the Washington Post gave it 4 Pinocchios as hurting the middle class. The truth is this whole tax reform is designed for the middle-class family that’s working so hard or that main street business that’s working so hard. I think what you just said are the talking points from 15 years ago. I think the public is tired of hearing it, they’re really ready for change. Again, simplifying the code, getting rid of all these special provisions for lobbyists and all the loopholes – this is what America really is dreaming of.”
Claim: Ok, but repealing the death tax is only for wealthy Americans.
Brady on MSNBC with Donny Deutsch: “My belief is that it isn’t paid by the super wealthy – it’s burdened by our family-owned farms and businesses who have worked a lifetime to build up a nest egg. That’s where the damage is done. And by the way, eliminating that death tax creates 140,000 new jobs in America. So, if we want to help get people back to work and get the economy going, stop [double and triple taxing on] a lifetime of hard work. Double and triple taxation for all you do as a local business or farmer is just wrong.”
Claim: By changing the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT), this bill raises taxes on people living in high tax states.
Brady on Fox News with Steve Doocy: “I believe [their taxes] will go down and here’s why. We have been working very closely with those lawmakers from the SALT states. That’s why … we restored the state and local property tax deduction. We have raised the child – what we now call family – tax credit. It used to just go to just a few people, now it goes to households up to $230,000 … we want families to keep more of what they earn regardless of where they live, including in our high tax states.”
Brady on CNN with Alisyn Camerota: “I’m sorry that these families just get hammered by their local mayors and governors with the highest taxes in the world it feels like. … but we believe they ought to keep more of what they earn as well. So, we are working with these high-tax state lawmakers. It’s the reason we provide a significant tax cut, we double the standard deduction, we eliminate this double AMT tax, and we create a new family credit to help every family in America keep more of what they earn. And when you do that – whether you are in New York or Kansas – you keep more of what you earn.”
Brady on MSNBC with Chuck Todd: “We want to make sure people keep more of what they earn regardless of where they live. That’s why we have lowered the rates for every American, why we doubled the standard deduction – really important in high tax states too – why we have increased the child tax credit. In fact there is a new family credit that’s much larger – and twice as many Americans, including in high tax states, now will get relief that they have before. So, it’s not just about one single deduction that’s itemized. And by the way, only about 1 out of 3 Americans get help for that. So we take a different approach. Let’s help every American – whether they itemize or not – keep more of what they earn.”
Claim: By changing the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT), you’re penalizing states that did not vote for Trump.
Brady on FOX Business with Maria Bartiromo: “Those taxes in New York state and New York City have been high for an awfully long time, they just have. And look, this isn’t about red state, blue state. This is really about fairness, simplicity, and growth … Washington won’t punish or reward you depending on where you choose to live and work. That’s a good thing.”
Claim: By changing the Mortgage Interest Deduction, this will make it harder for people to afford their homes.
Brady on CNN with Wolf Blitzer: “Not when you put in place the tax relief, protecting more of the first dollars they earn, this new family credit. In fact you put that all together, families are better off. And, we know, when the economy grows, more people can afford those homes. I actually believe this tax reform will strengthen home values and get more people in homes. Because remember, those who don’t itemize – which are most Americans – they get no help today with their home. We change that.”
Claim: But that will hurt the housing market.
Brady on MSNBC with Chuck Todd: “Nothing drives home values and home prices and home sales like a strong economy … this [bill] is all about creating strong economic growth going forward.”
Claim: You’re relying on growth to fund this bill – and it won’t be enough.
Brady on Fox News with Neil Cavuto: “We know growth makes a difference but that will not be enough. We eliminate dozens and dozens and dozens of provisions in the tax code use those dollars to lower the rates for families and for businesses. Families who don’t itemize to take advantage of half the tax code. Well for once, they’re treated right … We have to eliminate a lot of this underbrush to lower those rates and balance this in the budget over time.”
Brady on MSNBC with Willie Geist: “The answer is growth AND eliminating a lot of the special provisions and deductions in the tax code. You have to do both. … that doesn’t just grow revenues up here in Washington, it does at the state and local level as well. But that’s not enough. The reason we are going with this simple, postcard-style approach, and then eliminating a lot of special provisions on the business side is to get back to a balanced budget over time. You can’t just do one or the either. We do both.”
Claim: This isn’t as bold as Reagan’s tax reform in 1986.
Brady on FOX Business with Maria Bartiromo: “Look underneath those rates. Because the Reagan reform was really about lowering that top rate. Our reforms are about clearing out what’s underneath it. That Alternative Minimum Tax, all those hidden punishments when you succeed and grow … we create incentives for success and growth at every level.”
Brady on FOX News with Neil Cavuto: “Unlike the Reagan reforms, the rates were it – that was key – we do so much more under those rates … there is tax relief at every level … we are cutting rates across the economic spectrum so you’re going to see not just tax relief but growth across the board.”
Claim: This process has not included Democrats.
Brady on MSNBC with Chuck Todd: “No, I don’t believe so, and here’s why. I know I’ve spent the last year meeting with our centrist Democrats asking what ideas do they have, how they want to grow the middle class, get our jobs back from around the world. They have terrific ideas and I think we have a lot in common. But look, it was Republicans who promised to introduce and act on tax reform. Not Democrats. So [this week] was part of us fulfilling our promise to lay out our boldest vision – and then we will work with everyone to get it through Congress.”
The Ways and Means Committee will begin marking up the legislation on Monday, November 6, 2017.