While President Donald Trump and Republicans in the Congress continue to call for approval of the first major tax reforms since 1986, the GOP still has not released a piece of legislation with all of the many details of what would actually be changed in the tax code, leading Capitol Hill reporters on a daily trek to see what they can squeeze out of Republican lawmakers about the plan.
Often, it isn’t much.
“Congressman, how much is the child tax credit going to be increased by?” asked one reporter in a scrum just off the House floor.
“Why would I tell you that?” said a smiling Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), a key member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, where the tax plan will be forged in coming weeks, as Tiberi found himself repeatedly peppered with questions from reporters looking for clues on the final details of the GOP bill.
After noticing a tweet by a Wall Street Journal reporter about what had just happened in the Speaker’s Lobby, the veteran Ohio Republican had some fun with reporters in return.
A few feet away from Tiberi, other reporters were pumping another Ohio Republican on the Ways and Means Committee for answers as well – but like with Tiberi, not getting very far.
“Still talking about it,” Renacci said when asked a very detailed question about a certain part of the possible tax bill. “Still talking about it,” he said several times.
Every time there is a vote on the House floor, or a meeting of Republicans, the same group of key lawmakers gets chased around – and the questions fly.
What about the state and local tax deduction?
Will there be a fourth tax bracket for the wealthy?
Will the corporate rate really drop to 25 percent?
Where will tax brackets be set?
And the questions go on and on, as everyone waits for an actual bill to be released to the public.
Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress have bristled at some evaluations of the outline of the Trump tax plan done by outside groups, saying they are partisan and incomplete.
“Those are all false, because they aren’t based on any real data,” said Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), who made clear to reporters that the tax bill isn’t complete.
By that same reasoning, then one can’t give estimates of how much the tax plan would save taxpayers – because the details aren’t final, and won’t be for weeks.
“We’re looking at sometime in November,” said Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), when asked when the details might be revealed.
Collins is often cornered by reporters looking for insight into the battle over the state and local tax deduction, which top Republicans would like to abolish in this tax reform plan.
“It’s kind of gone dark,” Collins said of what information he was getting back from GOP tax writers on a possible compromise related to state and local taxes.
And that’s why reporters keep trying to find someone who will spill some of the beans about the GOP tax reform details.