Politics

Congress and Tax Cuts, A Love Story

Even amid the Christmas shutdown showdown, more talk of tax cuts

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., is retiring, but he’ll keep talking about tax cuts until then. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Here a Tax Cut, There a Tax Cut

Despite the looming Christmas holiday, and despite an intractable fight over government funding and a border wall, and despite the unpopularity (and blow to the deficit) of the last big tax cut last year, it’s still raining tax cuts, or at least the politicians who love them. 

Witness the House taking time Thursday to push through a package of tax cuts that the Senate has shown no interest in taking up as the legislative calendar ticks down to zero. 

No matter. Outgoing House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said it was important to provide more tax relief, in the form of fixing parts of last year’s tax code overhaul that need fixing, tax relief for disaster victims and extending some tax breaks, including for a biodiesel tax credit and for railroad track maintenance. 

As Speaker Paul D. Ryan readied the grand finale of his time in Congress, he made sure to emphasize that last year’s tax cut was his proudest achievement. 

“After years of doubt, years of the cynics saying it could not be done, we achieved the first major overhaul of our tax code in 31 years. Think about it. We went from having the worst tax code in the industrialized world to one of the most competitive. This is something I worked on my entire adult life, and it is something that will help to improve people’s lives for a long time to come,” the retiring speaker said in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress. That came on the heels of his office releasing a six-episode video series about the tax cut quest. 

It begs the question of whether there is ever a time not to talk about about tax cuts. (Not really a question.)

This Week’s Podcast

The United States Capitol Police will hosted the 8th Annual Holiday Party for sixty Birney Elementary School children. The event took place in the Hart Senate Office Building. During the event, children ages 4 through 11 where be transported by police escort motorcade from Birney Elementary School to Capitol Hill, where they will wait for Santa to arrive on horse and carriage. The children enjoyed refreshments, entertainment, and received gifts donated by members of the United States Capitol Police and area businesses.
The new tax law might have put a damper on the holiday party circuit, Political Theater explains on the latest podcast. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Taxes have been used for years to influence people’s behavior, and that might even be the case with this year’s holiday parties. Why? Because, as CQ budget editor Pete Cohn explains in this week’s Political Theater Podcast, last year’s tax reform removed a key deduction that allowed party-throwers to recoup money they spend on shindigs. Roll Call senior Senate reporter Niels Lesniewski and CQ Roll Call lobbying reporter Kate Ackley are also on hand to discuss the holiday party spirit, or lack thereof. 

Listen on: 

The Kicker

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 13: Rick Hohensee holds a Speaker of the House themed sign at the Capitol after the last votes of the week in the House on December 13, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Capitol fixture Rick Hohensee wants your vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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