Modified Senate tax bill would make individual cuts temporary, leave lower corporate rate permanent

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Utah governor calls Bannon a 'bigot' after attacks on Romney MORE (R-Utah) released a modified version of the Senate tax bill late Tuesday that includes two key changes: the previously announced elimination of the ObamaCare individual insurance mandate and a sunsetting of individual tax rates in 2025.

The sunset clause in Hatch's "modified mark" would mean the new individual rates in the Senate bill would end 10 years after their creation.

This would solve a key problem in the Senate, which would have to prevent the overall tax bill from adding to the deficit after 10 years to make the new individual tax rates permanent — and use special budgetary rules to pass the package with a simple-majority vote and prevent Democrats from using a filibuster.

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The Senate bill also reduces the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. This would be permanent and would not sunset.

On Monday, Hatch hinted that temporary individual tax cuts were on the table, emphasizing that he wanted to ensure that business tax changes are permanent.

Democrats already opposed to the tax bill may seize on the fact that the individual rates will expire, while the corporate reduction is permanent.

Hatch's modifications also include several provisions aimed at helping the middle class and shoring up support from GOP senators. These include increasing the child tax credit to $2,000 from $1,650 in the original bill and further lowering some of the individual tax rates. Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRyan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Richard Gere welcomes lawmakers' words of support for Tibet Dem lawmaker gives McConnell's tax reform op-ed a failing grade MORE (R-Fla.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSupreme Court takes on same-sex wedding cake case House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama Trump really will shrink government, starting with national monuments MORE (R-Utah) have been pushing for a larger child tax credit expansion.

But the new individual rates, the larger standard deduction and child tax credit, the 17.4 percent deduction of income from pass-through businesses and the repeal of the individual alternative minimum tax would all be among the provisions that expire.

The end of the ObamaCare individual mandate would not sunset.

The modified mark would also allow 529 college savings plans to be used to save for unborn children in years before 2026. The House's tax bill has a similar provision, though it doesn't have a sunset date.

Hatch's modifications also include denying businesses a deduction for settlements related to sexual harassment or sexual abuse that involve nondisclosure agreements. This change comes amid a growing number of allegations against high-profile figures.

And the modified mark would reduce alcohol-related taxes. The alcohol industry has been pushing for changes in this area, and its efforts have garnered bipartisan support.

Members of Finance Committee will consider Hatch's modifications as part of the tax bill's markup, which is continuing Wednesday. Committee members have also filed hundreds of amendments, though not all of them will be debated during the markup.

The Finance Committee is expected to approve the tax bill by the end of the week, and the Senate is expected to consider the bill on the floor the week after Thanksgiving.

Separately, the House is expected to approve its own tax package on Thursday. Most of the tax cuts in the House bill do not sunset, though a $300 "family flexibility" credit would expire after five years.

Hatch said in a statement that by repealing the individual mandate "we not only ease the financial burdens already associated with the mandate, but also generate additional revenue to provide more tax relief to [middle-class] individuals."

Hatch's "modified mark" would essentially repeal the individual mandate by reducing to zero the penalty people pay if they don't have health insurance.

President Trump and a number of conservative lawmakers have been pushing for tax legislation to include repeal of the mandate. But including the provision could make it harder to get centrists to back the bill.

This story was updated at 9:15 a.m.