Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal, the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, says the Republican tax bill that passed the Senate last week isn’t a done deal.
“[Republicans] are trying very hard to placate, still, members of their own caucus,” he said on Boston Public Radio today. “I think there is room here for the discussions that will take place.”
Neal, who represents the Bay State's first congressional district, is a part of the conference that’s set to discuss the bill before its final form goes to a vote.
He said one part of the bill, the elimination of state and local tax deductions, would put a burden on high-tax states. There is an exception to the elimination of those deductions: a property tax deduction capped at $10,000.
All but one of the House Republicans that voted against the tax overhaul were from one of three high-tax states that would be negatively affected by the bill: New York, New Jersey and California.
Neal said the issue of state and local tax deductions will be discussed in the conference, and if that elimination is scrapped, the tax revenue will have to come from elsewhere.
“The outcome of that means that you need more money from other parts of the tax cut to pay for it,” he said.
Neal also took issue with the idea that economic growth spurred by tax cuts in the bill would pay for the nearly $1.5 trillion addition to the deficit.
“That is nonsense,” he said. “I don’t think that squares with any economic reality.”
Neal said the bill that passed the Senate was held together “with bubblegum” and that debate in the conference might prolong the bill’s time on Capitol Hill.
“Look at it this way,” he said, “the entire revenue architecture of the United States has been altered in three weeks.”
To hear the interview in its entirety, click on the audio player above.