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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

GOP Lawmakers Seek Path Forward on Tax Reform

December 11, 2017

Lawmakers from the House and Senate have been selected to attempt to reconcile differences in each chamber’s tax reform bill.

While most negotiating between the two chambers will happen (and has been taking place) behind closed doors, conferees will meet publicly this week to seek a path forward for tax reform. Both the House and Senate bills call for lowering the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, but there are many significant differences between the two bills.

Considerable challenges include addressing the difference in individual tax rates—the House proposes four brackets while the Senate maintains seven; whether to accept the Senate plan to eliminate the Affordable Care Act individual mandate; and major differences in treatment of pass-through businesses as well as in the alternative minimum tax for corporations.

The state and local tax deduction also remains a sticking point. The House allows a partial deduction, while the Senate would fully eliminate the deduction. Many Republican lawmakers from states where the tax deduction is popular (generally high tax states like New York, New Jersey, and California), however, are calling on GOP leaders to reject any limitation, and congressional leaders are under considerable pressure to relent in order to ensure they don’t lose support for the bill from members of their own party.

There are also differences in how each bill would affect higher education. NACUBO has compared the House and Senate provisions affecting colleges and universities in its summary:

NACUBO remains particularly concerned with the outlook for Sections 117(d) and 127 and 501(c)(3) private activity bonds and has urged colleges and universities to weigh in with lawmakers on the importance of these and other provisions of concern.

NACUBO members should refer to the NACUBO webpage on tax reform regularly for updates as the conference moves forward.

The Senate Republican conferees are:
1. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
2. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY)
3. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
4. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
5. Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
6. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
7. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
8. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)

The Senate Democratic conferees are:
1. Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR)
2. Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
3. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
4. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
5. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
6. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
7. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE)

The House Republican conferees are:
1. Conference Chair: Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX)
2. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)
3. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL)
4. Rep. Diane Black (R-TN)
5. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD)
6. Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT)
7. Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
8. Energy and Commerce Energy Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI)
9. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)

The House Democratic conferees are:
1. Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA)
2. Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI)
3. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
4. Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)
5. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL)


Liz Clark
Senior Director, Federal Affairs

Mary Bachinger
Director, Tax Policy

Megan Schneider
Assistant Director, Federal Affairs