GOP Tax Reform Process Takes First Step in Congress; ACA Taxes Likely On Separate Track

October 20, 2017

Late last night, the Senate approved, in a 51 to 49 vote, the 2018 budget resolution that allows the GOP to pass up to $1.5 trillion in tax cuts over the next 10 years.  The House passed its own budget resolution earlier this year, but is expected to take up the Senate bill early next week to avoid having to conference the two measures.  The budget resolution sets in motion a process that leads to a reconciliation bill making changes in the tax code that meets the resolution's targets and only requires 51 votes in the Senate.  The GOP is expected to roll out its draft tax reform bill as early as next week, which House Speaker Paul Ryan recently said will include a fourth bracket for high-income earners.  Notably, an extension of the moratorium for the ACA's medical device and health insurance taxes are not expected to be part of the reform bill, but are likely to be dealt with in a separate year-end tax extenders bill.  It is also rumored that the legislation may limit the tax exclusion for employer-provided health care benefits for high-income earners, but no final decisions have been made.