Kevin Brady

Grassley Will Step into Tax Storm, Finance Gavel in Hand
Iowa Republican was a key player on big-ticket measures during his previous tenure as Finance chairman

Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, conducts a Senate Judiciary Committee markup in October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Charles E. Grassley is expected to be the next chairman of the Finance Committee, putting the Iowa Republican at the center of the storm in the 116th Congress on what could be divisive debates over tax, trade and health care policy.

Grassley cited a sense of “optimism” fueled by the “pro-growth” policies of a Republican president and Congress. “Looking ahead. ... I want to continue to work to make sure that as many Americans as possible get to experience this good economy for themselves,” he said in a statement released Friday. “That means working to provide Americans with additional tax relief and tax fairness so they can spend more of their hard-earned money on what’s important to them.”

How Trump's Imagined Tax Cut Could Work
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 84

Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, left, sits in front of books of the current tax code, during a House Ways and Means Committee markup of the Republicans' tax reform plan titled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in Longworth Building on November 6, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump wants another tax cut for the middle class, a proposal administration officials and members of Congress are now scrambling to make happen. CQ budget and appropriations editor Peter Cohn explains the options available and their consequences.

 

Trump Tax Cuts Will Wait Until 2019, Brady Says in Plot Twist
Still no timeline for White House to release outline of the president’s 10 percent plan

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said the new tax cuts would be on the 2019 agenda. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is appearing to punt President Donald Trump’s new middle class tax cut plan to 2019.

Rep. Kevin Brady made clear Friday that the additional 10 percent middle class tax cut, which raised eyebrows when the president first mentioned it last week, would be a priority if the GOP maintains control of both chambers of Congress in 2019.

Trump’s Tax Cut Gambit Gets Heads Scratching
Analysts remain skeptical new cuts are coming anytime soon

President Donald Trump surprised many with his recent announcement of new middle-class tax cuts, but analysts are skeptical of a plan materializing anytime soon. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump’s election-season promise of a new 10 percent tax cut for the middle class raised a host of questions about its design, cost and effectiveness.

With details of the surprise initiative still a mystery, analysts could only guess at the types of tax breaks the president may be considering. The only clues so far are that the package would be geared narrowly to the middle class, and go beyond a House-passed bill that would make permanent the temporary tax cuts for individuals enacted last year.

Brady Says Ways and Means Will Work With Trump on 10 Percent Middle-Class Tax Cut
Tax writing chairman’s statement comes after Trump already suggested Brady was working on it

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, says his panel will work with President Donald Trump and his administration to craft the mysterious 10 percent middle-class tax cut bill the president has been talking about lately. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump must’ve spent some time offstage Monday night in Houston talking up his new middle-class tax cut idea to Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, because the House chief’s tax writer has agreed to take on the project. 

In recent days Trump has started talking about working with Congress on new tax cut legislation focused on providing further relief to the middle-class. He initially said a measure would be unveiled before November 1, revised that to after the election and then reversed the time back to next week.

Health Care Exchange Premiums Dip, Finally
After steep increases in 2017 and 2018, states on the exchanges see a decline of 1.5 percent

Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, says the lower premiums are “encouraging,” but that the health care law is set up to fail over time. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Health insurance premiums in the 39 states that use HealthCare.gov will fall 1.5 percent on average for the most commonly purchased plans in 2019, marking the first time that rates have dropped since the 2010 health care law was implemented.

The decline is a significant departure from steep increases in 2017 and 2018. Premiums for HealthCare.gov plans grew by an average of 37 percent for plans this year, after rising by 25 percent the year before, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Thursday.

How Committees Got Their Staffers
Ways and Means and Senate Finance were first panels to receive staff

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, right, and Texas Rep. Sam Johnson during a markup of the GOP tax bill in November. In the background, David Stewart, the panel’s majority staff director at the time, and Karen McAfee, the minority staff director. The Ways and Means Committee was the first one in the House to receive staff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Recent estimates have put the number of staffers in the House and Senate at about 15,000. In 1789, there was one. 

Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania had just been made speaker, and the second order of business was to elect Virginia lawyer John Beckley as House clerk, the first of 35 people who have served in the role. 

Do Debt and Deficits Matter? It Depends on Who's Minding U.S. Fiscal Policy: Podcast
CQ on Congress, Episode 116

Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, sits in front of books of the U.S. tax code, during a House Ways and Means Committee markup of the Republicans' tax reform plan in November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Congressional Budget Office recently revised its earlier, already dire warning that the national debt will be 150 percent larger than the entire U.S. economy within 30 years — and GOP budget and tax proposals could make a bad situation much worse.

CQ News editors Patrick B. Pexton and Pete Cohn discuss the political landscape of debt and deficits heading into what could be a fateful midterm election.

Trump’s Threat to Leave the WTO Alarms Many, Even in Congress
And it might be a tipping point for Republicans on the Hill

President Donald Trump, here at the Capitol in June, says World Trade Organization members are not playing fair with America. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The United States once viewed the World Trade Organization as the wave of the future, an improvement over the aging General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade system and a hub of rules-based stability for countries — rich and poor, democratic and nondemocratic — engaged in the international buying and selling of goods and services.

Now President Donald Trump is eyeing the exit door from the WTO, a Geneva-based body the U.S. helped to create in 1995 to negotiate trade standards among its 164-member nations and to referee disputes among them using a playbook of agreed upon rules.

Lawmakers Welcome Easing of EU-US Trade Rift, Look to NAFTA
But tensions still evident, as U.S. trade representative finds out

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., sees progress in de-escalating trade tensions between the United States and the European Union. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Key agriculture Republicans say they are hopeful the Trump administration is starting to move farmers out of a trade crossfire under a limited agreement between President Donald Trump and the European Union to ease trade tensions as the two sides work to iron out their differences.

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts called Wednesday’s agreement in principle “quite a startling development and positive development. If that happens and then we get NAFTA done, there are quite a few lights at the end of the tunnel.”