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GOP still wrestling with details of Republican tax reform bill

Published: Wednesday, October 25, 2017 @ 8:38 AM

A day after President Donald Trump gave little guidance to Senators on what he wants in a tax reform bill in Congress, the chief tax-writer in the House signaled that a series of major decisions still haven't been made on the details of the legislation, openly disagreeing with Mr. Trump on the possibility of changing tax rules on 401(k) retirement savings plans.

"We are continuing discussions with the President," said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, who spoke at a breakfast organized by the Christian Science Monitor.

Brady - whose panel is expected to release a draft tax bill next week - reinforced what GOP lawmakers have been saying for days, that big decisions must still be made on the fine print of Republican tax reform plans.

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The complexity of a tax reform package makes some of these decisions extraordinarily important, as GOP leaders try to figure out how much of the bill would be permanent, and how many tax changes might be temporary, because of the nature of the rules governing bills brought up under the special 'budget reconciliation' process.

Asked about details of the tax bill, House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday wasn't giving any hints at a Reuters Newsmakers event in Washington, D.C.

"I'm not going to get ahead of Kevin Brady," Ryan said, referring to the Ways and Means Committee chairman.

"I used to have that job; the last thing I want to do is have leadership dictate how the committee works," Ryan added, though the Speaker said he still expected the details to be out next week.

Some Republicans have grumbled at the lack of details about the GOP tax plan; the last time that Congress approved a major tax reform bill, President Ronald Reagan sent lawmakers a detailed bill - it took the House and Senate almost 18 months after that to force a final deal.

"I sort of feel like this tax bill is like the Ark of the Covenant," said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), referring to Indiana Jones, and the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark.

"It must be so magnificent, that if we laid our eyes on it, it would eviscerate all of us," Gaetz added.

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