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White House, GOP close to releasing joint tax-reform principles

White House, GOP close to releasing joint tax-reform principles
© Greg Nash

The White House, congressional leaders and the chairmen of the tax-writing committees may release joint tax-reform principles as soon as this week, according to lobbyists.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTrump faces test of power with early endorsements Lobbying world Boehner throws support behind Republican who backed Trump impeachment MORE (R-Wis.) told attendees at an event Tuesday at the Capitol Hill Club that the unified tax-reform framework would be unveiled later in the week, and that the House Ways and Means Committee would then write legislation based on the principles, according to Hadar Susskind, senior vice president of government relations at the Council on Foundations. A representative of Susskind’s group was at the event.

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Tax reform is a top issue for the GOP, and policymakers have said they intend to enact legislation this year. For the last several months, a group of lawmakers and administration officials known as the “Big Six” have been meeting regularly to reach an agreement on a tax plan that the White House and House and Senate Republicans can all support.

The members of the Big Six include Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump: McConnell 'helpless' to stop Biden from packing court Senate GOP opens door to earmarks McConnell sidesteps Trump calling him 'dumb son of a b----' MORE (R-Ky.), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyGOP lawmakers raise concerns about child tax credit expansion Republicans can't handle the truth about taxes Democrats see political winner in tax fight MORE (R-Texas), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchPress: Forget bipartisanship — it's dead! Privatization of foster care has been a disaster for children Remembering Ted Kennedy highlights decline of the Senate MORE (R-Utah), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn. The group is expected to meet again on Wednesday.

A tax lobbyist familiar with the issue said that the Big Six have reached an agreement on six tax-reform principles and are briefing congressional staff about the plan.

If the tax-reform principles are released this week, they would be rolled out during the House’s final days in Washington before the August recess.

Susskind said the tax framework “has the potential to change some of the recess conversation” from being mostly about healthcare to including tax-reform as well.

He said he expected that the plan would including keeping the charitable deduction, which is maintained in the tax plans previously released by the White House and House Republicans. However, he did not expect the framework to go deep into issues of importance to the nonprofit sector.

When asked Wednesday if the tax-reform principles would be released this week, Mnuchin said “we’re working very hard on continued details of the plan, and we look forward to releasing them when we release them.”

During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing Wednesday, Mnuchin said he wants to simplify the tax system so that fewer people need to call the IRS during the filing season.

He also said that policymakers’ tax plan would be “responsible” when it comes to the impact it would have on the debt, and that transitioning to a “territorial” tax system that only taxes U.S. companies’ domestic earnings is a “very, very, very high” priority.