The House GOP tax bill just cleared a huge hurdle

House Speaker Paul Ryan

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House Speaker Paul Ryan
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Yuri Gripas/Reuters

  • The House Ways and Means committee approved the GOP tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  • The bill now moves to the full House floor for a vote, possibly next week.
  • The move keeps the Republican timeline for tax reform intact.

The House and Ways and Means Committee approved the GOP’s tax bill on Thursday, clearing another obstacle for the plan.

The committee voted 24 to 16 to report the bill to the full House on Thursday, with the vote going along party lines.

Most importantly for Republicans, the step keeps the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in step with their goal to pass it through the House by Thanksgiving.

While the Ways and Means Committee never threatened to be an impediment to the bill’s passage – Republicans have a chokehold on the committee – the committee process resulted in substantial changes to the legislation’s text.

Some changes made by the adopted amendments include weakening a proposed excise tax on multinational corporations, raising the threshold on a new tax on private universities’ endowments, and a change to the so-called carried interest loophole.

The bill now moves to the full House, where GOP leaders will need to win over a group of noncommittal members to ensure that the bill is passed.

A handful of GOP lawmakers have said they opposed the current version of the TCJA because it would eliminate most of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction. The TCJA would no longer let people subtract sales and income taxes imposed by a state or local government from their federal tax bill, and would only allows for the deduction of property taxes up to $10,000.

The SALT deduction is popular in states with higher taxes like New York, New Jersey, and California. A handful of members from those areas have pushed back against the SALT deduction proposals.

At the same time that the House is advancing its bill, the Senate is expected to roll out their tax reform legislation, which is expected to be wildly different than the TCJA.

The White House released a statement soon after the bill’s passage in Ways and Means, applauding the step forward.

“Today’s passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act through the House Ways and Means Committee is an important step toward providing historic tax relief for the American people,” the statement said.

“There is still much to do, but the Administration remains confident that, through continued cooperation with Congress, we will achieve these priorities this year.”

The differences will likely need to be ironed out in a conference committee – all while Republicans hope to get a bill to President Donald Trump’s desk by Christmas.