The $78 Billion Tax Package: A Critical Analysis

On Friday, a significant step was taken towards passing a $78 billion tax package that promises major benefits for companies. The bill, which was approved by a key House panel with an overwhelming vote of 40-3, has garnered bipartisan support and is gaining momentum. This package includes several provisions, such as immediate expensing of research and development costs, increased flexibility for businesses through interest deductions, and tax credits to incentivize the construction of affordable rental units. The bill also addresses disaster relief for wildfires and train derailments that occurred last year, as well as the issue of double taxation for business and workers with ties to the U.S. and Taiwan.

Many of the provisions in this tax package were part of the 2017 Trump tax cuts but had expired over the past few years. However, influential business groups, including the Business Roundtable, Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers, have been lobbying lawmakers to reinstate them. The bipartisan agreement between Republican House Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith and Democratic Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden resulted in the package released earlier this week. To gain more Democratic support, the bill also expands the child tax credit by adjusting it for inflation and allowing Americans without a tax bill to receive the credit as a refund.

The White House has expressed its support for the legislation, emphasizing its potential to lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty and support the construction of affordable rental housing units. However, it remains uncertain whether this endorsement will sway congressional Democrats who have raised concerns about the package. Representative Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, acknowledged the necessity of passing the tax bill to prevent the expiration of important provisions but urged for further improvements. Despite his reservations, Blumenauer reluctantly voted for the bill, emphasizing the need for additional expansion of the child tax credit.

To fund the measures outlined in the tax package, the bill proposes ending a pandemic-era tax credit for businesses with employees impacted by Covid-19 on January 31. Nonetheless, House Speaker Mike Johnson has yet to confirm when or if he will bring the bill to the House floor for a vote. The bill’s supporters, Smith and Wyden, are eager to get the measure passed quickly so that its provisions can apply to 2023 federal tax filings, which are due on April 15.

The approval of the $78 billion tax package by the House panel marks an important milestone in its journey towards becoming law. The bipartisan support it has received, coupled with the endorsement from the White House, adds significant momentum to the proposed changes. However, criticisms from influential Democrats highlight the need for further improvements, particularly in expanding the child tax credit. It remains to be seen how the bill will fare in Congress and whether it will undergo any modifications before its final passage. The potential impact of this tax package on businesses, workers, and affordable housing remains a subject of intense debate and scrutiny.


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