On Monday night, the GOP tax bill took another step toward President Trump’s desk when Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), named nine members to the conference committee, including Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas). The Senate is expected to name their negotiators later this week as the two chambers work to reconcile their respective versions of the bill. As the bill moves forward, Democrats are becoming increasingly frantic — and apocalyptic — in their efforts to derail tax reform.
“[This bill] is the worst bill in the history of the United States Congress,” claimed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during House floor debates on the tax bill. She clarified later during a press conference: “No, it is the end of the world… This is Armageddon.” (video)
It’s unclear which parts of the GOP tax bill signal the four horsemen of Pelosi’s prophesied apocalypse. Maybe it’s the increase in the child tax credit, which the House bumped up to $1,600 per child (and the Senate raised even further to $2000). This legislation would provide critical relief for working families, but for the Democrats, that relief goes hand in hand with our doom.
Or maybe Pelosi’s panic is due to the near total elimination of marriage penalties within the tax bill. For decades, married couples have been penalized by a tax code that incentivizes divorce. A divorced couple can often achieve a better tax result by receiving a tax break for payments between them than a married couple can. Marriage is the bedrock of our nation’s foundational structure, the family, and only when our families are strong can our economy thrive. The House GOP members recognized this when they also reduced the number of taxable income brackets to four, rather than the seven currently in law.
Another vilified proposal within the Republicans’ tax bill is the assault on the estate tax, also known as the “death tax,” which handicaps families, and particularly family-owned businesses, by imposing heavily on bequeathed assets. The House version of the tax bill doubles the death tax exclusion and repeals the tax permanently beginning in 2024, while the Senate’s version retains the tax, but doubles the exclusion from 2018-2025.
The Democrats may disagree, but we find that the death tax places an unconscionable onus on small businesses, to say nothing of the emotional damage inflicted on grieving families who are forced to close their business’s doors, and we hope the final bill reflects the House’s language and fully repeals the death tax.
Nancy Pelosi and her compatriots on the Left would have the American public believe that the Republicans are out to help only the richest and the biggest “fat cats,” as Pelosi called the wealthy repeatedly during her floor speeches against the GOP tax bill.
The bill is not perfect, and we urge members of Congress to include in the final bill the House language removing the government’s muzzle on churches via the Johnson amendment restoring free speech for churches and non-profits. But despite the Democrats’ fearmongering and hyperbolic exclamations, the truth is that this bill does not spell the end of the world, but rather the end of an antiquated tax code that has crippled our economy and placed an undue burden on our nation’s families for decades.
This commentary first appeared on December 5, 2017 in Tony Perkins’ FRC Washington Update which is written with the aid of Family Research Council senior writers.