Members of the most conservative caucus in the House of Representatives are ready to share their vision for a tax overhaul, welfare reform, and other legislative priorities.
Tax reform is overdue, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said in a statement provided to The Daily Signal.
“American voters have demanded a simplified tax code that allows our economy to grow, businesses to thrive, and families to keep more of their money,” Meadows said. “Republicans in Congress have promised for years that if given the opportunity, we would deliver on this goal. It’s our responsibility to do nothing less.”
Meadows and other caucus members will outline their ideas Friday at 9:30 a.m. during an event at The Heritage Foundation.
Repealing Obamacare remains a top priority, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a former chairman of the 2-year-old caucus of about 30 House conservatives, said.
“It’s in the Senate now, we just need to get it done,” Jordan told The Daily Signal in an interview Wednesday. “Hopefully it’s [as] close to what we passed in the House as possible. Hopefully the Senate can approve what was passed in the House. However, it is up to the Senate now.”
The House voted by a razor-thin 217-213 on May 4 to pass Republicans’ revised Obamacare replacement bill after President Donald Trump worked with House Speaker Paul Ryan to bring together House conservatives and centrists on the amended version.
Jordan also said he hopes to address the contested proposal for a “border adjustment tax” as part of overhauling the tax code. The House’s Republican leadership backed the idea last year as part of a tax reform package.
“I think one of the keys for me is stopping the border adjustment tax,” Jordan said. “Just from a purely philosophical standpoint, I don’t see how it’s helpful to put a whole new tax on the American economy, on the American people. So just from a philosophical plane, I’m opposed to it.”
Opponents say such a tax would discourage import-intensive businesses by increasing the cost of their products consumed in America while exported goods and services are tax-free, The Daily Signal previously reported.
But Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and a leading proponent of the tax, said it “restores America as the best place on the planet to do business.”
The tax “is already pretty much dead on arrival,” Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., another member of the Freedom Caucus, told The Daily Signal.
“It just creates an internal food fight between exporters and importers,” Brat said in an interview Wednesday. “The White House doesn’t want it, the Senate says it’s dead.”
Brat said caucus members have a plan to help make up for lost revenue if lawmakers defeat the tax proposal.
Part of the solution involves welfare reform, the Virginia Republican said:
It goes along with tax reform because you are strengthening the labor markets, in the meantime, you are getting able-bodied people back in the workforce, along with tax cuts that are going to stimulate job production and the economy, so it’s a win-win and that’s the goal, right? Our measure of success is how many people we get back in the workforce and off of federal programs.
The Freedom Caucus is in favor of doing some heavy lifting on welfare reform, so every able-bodied person gets into the workforce, and we think there’s about $400 or $500 billion in savings there that helps you get tax reform across the board.
Adam Michel, a policy analyst specializing in taxes at The Heritage Foundation, wrote in a recent commentary that the proposed border adjustment tax would raise “about $1 trillion over 10 years, used to partially finance other beneficial reforms.”
Jordan said the merits of revenue-neutral tax policy, which, for tax cuts, requires offsetting revenue elsewhere, should be part of the discussion.
“I would say ‘revenue neutral’ is Washington-speak [for] saying, ‘The tax burden is going to stay the same, we’re just going to shift around who pays what,’” Jordan said, adding:
And in that scenario, that usually means the connected class gets a good deal and the middle class gets a bad deal.
Also expected to attend the Heritage event are Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, and Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C. The event will be livestreamed here.