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A free-market group backed by Charles and David Koch, the Republican mega-donor brothers, released a list of spending and tax changes that could be alternatives to the House Republicans' border-adjustment proposal.
The list from Americans for Prosperity (AFP) comes as the House proposal faces tough odds of passing the Senate.
The border-adjustment proposal, which would tax imports and exempt exports, is a key part of the House Republicans' tax reform plan in part because it could raise more than $1 trillion in revenue over 10 years. Congressional GOP leaders have said that they do not want tax reform to increase the deficit.
But AFP argued that border adjustability would lead to higher prices for consumers and said that Congress should enact other tax and spending changes instead in order to achieve deficit-neutral tax reform. The group came up with a list of more than $2 trillion in tax increases and spending cuts, based on Congressional Budget Office figures.
"There are trillions of dollars in corporate welfare, wasteful spending, and unnecessary programs that could be eliminated to clear the path to get tax reform done," said AFP Vice President of External Affairs Chrissy Harbin. "Lawmakers should look at some of those options before asking consumers to chip in $1.2 trillion in the form of higher costs for clothes, gasoline, electronics, and other everyday goods."
AFP suggested curbing several tax preferences that are currently preserved in the House GOP tax blueprint. These include eliminating the research and development tax credit, which would raise $113.2 billion over 10 years, capping the mortgage interest deduction at $500,000, which would raise $352 billion, and repeal the "last in first out" accounting method for calculating corporate tax liabilities, which would raise $102 billion.
AFP also recommended that Congress link tax-bracket increases and cost-of-living adjustments for mandatory spending programs to different measures of inflation. The tax-bracket proposal is estimated to raise $157 billion, while the spending program proposal would cut federal spending by $182 billion.
The group also suggested several other proposals to cut spending.
AFP floated converting assistance programs for low-income people to block grants, purchasing other new aircraft instead of the F-35 and cutting the improper payment rate for federal spending programs in half. These proposals are estimated to produce 10-year savings of $417 billion, $29 billion and $720 billion, respectively.
The group also said that cutting the size of the federal workforce by 15 percent would reduce spending by $229 billion; eliminating the conservation reserve program for farmers would cut spending by $20 billion; capping medical malpractice damages would lead to $62 billion in savings; and capping the growth of Medicaid spending and the level of spending per enrollee would save $374 billion.
Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards Democrats to make pitch Friday for pathway to citizenship in spending bill Without major changes, more Americans could be victims of online crime MORE (R-Texas) said Thursday that Senate Republicans are looking at alternatives to border adjustability but did not provide additional details, according to Politico.
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