Congressional Republicans Reach Deal on Tax Reform, Votes to be Held Next Week

On Wednesday, Senate and House Republicans struck an agreement on a consolidated sweeping tax reform bill. Recall, Congressional Republicans entered into conference last week to reconcile the differences between the Senate and House tax reform measures that were recently passed by both houses.

Full details of the agreed-upon measure were not available at the time of this update, but the bill language is expected to be released later today. Reports suggest the conference committee will lower the individual tax rate to 37 percent and set the corporate tax rate at 21 percent.

Also included in the measure will be a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual insurance coverage mandate tax penalty. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) previously estimated that by eliminating the individual mandate, the number of uninsured Americans will increase by 13 million over the next decade. Average health insurance premiums are also expected to increase by 10 percent with elimination of the mandate.

A budget score from the Joint Committee on Taxation is expected in the coming days.

As with the previously-passed tax reform measures, this consolidated bill threatens existing vital programs, including the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF). Reports suggest the federal deficit will increase in upwards of $1.5 trillion over the next decade with the enactment of this bill. If Congress does not implement offsetting budgetary savings, the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 (SPAYGO) will be triggered, resulting in massive automatic program funding cuts over the next ten years.

With one week remaining in the Congressional session, votes on the tax reform measure are slated to be held next week. Republicans are confident they have enough votes to secure passage of the measure. Several uncertain Congressional Republicans have reportedly been won over by GOP leadership and the Trump Administration with promises to work on future legislation, such as measures to make improvements to the individual health insurance marketplaces.

Congressional Republicans will hold an initial procedural vote on Monday and a final Senate vote on Tuesday. After passage in the Senate, the measure will head to the House for final passage and then onto President Donald Trump for his signature.