Policymakers Can Still Change Course and Pass a Responsible Tax Plan

For Immediate Release

The conference committee on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has reportedly reached an agreement on principle today as the committee holds its first public meeting. The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

When Congress began its work on tax reform, they called for a revenue-neutral and pro-growth plan that would broaden the tax base by eliminating most tax breaks in order to simplify the code, reduce rates, and establish a permanent, modernized tax code. The conference committee appears to be negotiating a plan that is far short of this vision.

Revenue neutrality was a key feature of tax reform in 1986 and was meant to be a central tenet in this year’s effort. Yet after accounting for economic growth, even the most optimistic scores of the House and Senate tax bills show they add a trillion dollars or more to the national debt. These higher debt levels will have a negative impact on economic growth.

Congress shouldn’t hit the gas on a plan that falls short of its important objectives just to meet a made-up deadline. It’s not too late to make improvements to the bill to minimize the effect on the debt and improve the effects on economic growth.

The conference committee should steer the tax bill toward the GOP’s original vision of fiscally responsible and pro-growth reform. Taking the best rather than worst ideas from each chamber would be a good place to start, and new offsets or scaled-back tax cuts will also be necessary.

Better to slow down and adjust course than rush a bill into law that will slow long-term economic growth, balloon the debt, and leave a massive bill for future generations.


For more information contact Patrick Newton, press secretary, at newton@crfb.org.