‘It’s not a like a fine bottle of wine’: Republicans say they must pass their tax bill quickly — or it could unravel

NJ Rep. Tom MacArthur.

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NJ Rep. Tom MacArthur.
source
Thomson Reuters

    Republicans want to have a bill on President Donald Trump’s desk by the end of the year. Many Republicans are still on the fence about supporting the bill in its current form.

WASHINGTON – House Republicans hoping to overhaul the federal tax code using their newly unveiled bill need to legislate quickly to avoid another debacle like they faced during the failed attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare, according to one GOP lawmaker.

“I’m not sure this gets better with time,” Rep. Tom MacArthur of New Jersey said Thursday. “It’s not a like a fine bottle of wine. I don’t think we go home for Thanksgiving before we vote.”

The urgency to pass a tax reform bill on a tight deadline is a major concern among Senate Republicans as well, some of whom suggested weekend and holiday work are in the near future.

MacArthur is one of a handful of Republicans on the fence about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was released Thursday. Some are concerned about the way certain provisions would affect their high-taxed, predominantly Democratic constituents.

The bill in its current form does not have a high enough cap on mortgage interest deductions, MacArthur told reporters, adding that he is unsure if such improvements can be made. The bill would reduce the cap from $1 million to $500,000, which sent homebuilder stocks and other other groups into a frenzy after the bill was introduced Thursday morning.

Blue state Republicans are worried that the tax bill won’t benefit their constituents

The Republicans representing blue states are conflicted about the bill.

Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York immediately rejected the bill, citing the elimination of the state and local tax deduction, as well as a $10,000 cap on property tax deductions.

“I am a No to this bill in its current form,” Zeldin said in a statement. “We need to fix this State and Local Tax deduction issue. Adding back in the property tax deduction up to $10,000 is progress, but not enough progress. If I’m not fighting for New Yorkers, I can’t expect anyone else from another state to do it for me.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik, also of New York, called the bill “a starting point” in a statement.

“I will be working with my colleagues in the New York delegation to improve this plan to provide real tax relief for New Yorkers and to address the issue of state and local tax deductions,” Stefanik added. “My goal for this process is to make certain that families and businesses in our district receive tax relief. I encourage all of our constituents to read this plan and contact my offices by phone or email to share their feedback.”

Contrary to Stefanik’s statement that the New York delegation would be working together to hash out their demands, Rep. Chris Collins shrugged off any such plans.

“We’re gonna be one by one,” Collins told Business Insider. “And I’m a yes, [Tom] Reed’s a yes, I understand there’ll be some Nos. I think when people actually run the numbers and they see all if not most all of their constituents are gonna pay less in taxes, why would you not support this?”