Live coverage: Day four of the Ways and Means GOP tax bill markup

The House Ways and Means Committee is meeting on Thursday for what is expected to be the fourth and final day of its markup of House Republicans' tax bill.

The panel is expected to advance the bill on a party-line vote. Committee approval of the bill would send the measure to the House floor, bringing Republicans one step closer to their goal of passing it by Thanksgiving. 

Democrats have been spending the markup offering a series of amendments to restore tax breaks valued by middle-class families that are eliminated in the bill. Their amendments have all failed on party-line votes. 

Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyHow the Trump tax law passed: Breaking the gridlock  House GOP bill a mixed bag for retirement savers China imposes new tariffs on billion of US goods: report MORE (R-Texas) is also expected to offer an amendment on Thursday to ensure that the bill doesn't add more than $1.5 trillion to the deficit — the amount allowed under the budget rules in order for tax legislation to pass the Senate with a simple majority.

Committee sends bill to House floor

3:23 p.m.

Both Brady's amendment and the overall bill passed on party-line votes of 24-16.

“Americans deserve a new tax code for a new era of prosperity, and today we deliver,” Brady said just before the vote.

Small-business group backs Brady amendment

2:40 p.m.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) expressed support for the amendment from Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) after opposing the initial version of the bill.

“We are very grateful to Chairman Brady for listening to our concerns and working with NFIB to ensure that tax reform benefits the greatest possible number of American small business owners," NFIB President Juanita Duggan said in a statement.

"This amendment would create substantial tax relief for millions of small business owners who were left out of the original bill. We urge Republican and Democratic members of the House to support this amendment going forward.”

Brady's amendment would create a new 9-percent tax rate, down from 12 percent, for the first $75,000 of income of a married active owner who has less than $150,000 of "pass-through" business income.

Brady offers amendment preserving adoption tax credit

1:40 p.m.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) is offering an amendment to the House GOP tax bill that makes a number of changes, including additional tax relief for small businesses and preservation of the adoption tax credit.

Brady said the amendment "takes action on three crucial priorities — helping American families, providing tax relief to Main Street startups and increasing American competitiveness."

The amendment comes after the National Federation of Independent Business came out against the initial version of the bill because they thought it did not help enough small businesses.

The initial bill lowered the top rate for "pass-through" businesses, which includes many small businesses, from 39.6 percent to 25 percent. Small businesses otherwise would have been taxed at the regular individual tax rates.

Under Brady's amendment, there would be a new 9-percent bracket for the first $75,000 of taxable income for active owners who earn less than $150,000 from a pass-through business. The 9-percent rate would be phased-in over five years. 

The amendment also preserves a nonrefundable tax credit for adoption expenses. Many conservatives had opposed the bill's initial repeal of the adoption tax credit.

The amendment is notably missing a repeal of the ObamaCare individual insurance mandate, which President Trump and some conservative lawmakers have been pushing for.

Last Democratic amendments rejected

1:20 p.m.

The Ways and Means Committee rejected the last several Democratic amendments on party-line votes.

These amendments included those on the estate tax, domestic manufacturing and President Trump's tax returns.

Pascrell offers amendment on Trump's tax returns

12:55 p.m.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) offered an amendment to delay the tax bill from taking effect until after the Treasury Department provides the House Ways and Means Committee with President Trump's tax returns.

Lawmakers “don’t have a full understanding” of how Trump would benefit from the bill without his returns, Pascrell said. He cited the lower rate for pass-through businesses and repeal of the estate tax as provisions in the tax bill that could benefit the president.

Pascrell has been trying to get the Ways and Means Committee to request Trump's returns for months. Under federal tax law, the chairmen of the tax-writing committees can request tax returns from the Treasury Department to be considered in a closed session. 

 

Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio), spoke out against the amendment, saying the committee shouldn't be going on "fishing expeditions."

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said the panel "has never been in the business of targeting the tax returns of single individuals.”

Kind offers amendment on domestic production

12:45 p.m.

Rep. Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindAllow HSA dollars to be used for over-the-counter drugs Repeal of medical device tax would support medical technology innovation On The Money: Commerce to review uranium imports | Lawmakers urge Trump not to impose auto tariffs | White House wants steeper cuts to EPA funding | Google hit with massive B fine MORE (D-Wis.) offered an amendment to keep a tax incentive for domestic manufacturing.

The current bill repeals the section 199 domestic manufacturing deduction, but Kind says the deduction “has proven its value” and is crucial for domestic manufacturers and family farms.

Chu offers amendment to preserve estate tax

11:38 a.m.

Rep. Judy ChuJudy May ChuState Department: Allegations of racism 'disgusting and false' Dems vow to grab Trump tax returns upon taking majority Overnight Health Care: Drug price fight heats up | Skepticism over drug companies' pledges | Ads target HHS secretary over child separations | Senate confirms VA pick MORE (D-Calif.) offered an amendment to preserve the estate tax. The GOP bill doubles the exemption from the tax from $5.5 million to $11 million for an individual, and then phases it out altogether.

“When we talk about having our tax system help children in need, we don’t mean Ivanka Trump. But children like Ivanka Trump are exactly the ones that get helped by ending the estate tax,” Chu said.

The tax mainly impacts the nation’s wealthiest, and scrapping it is projected to reduce revenues $269 billion.

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) has spoken about how the estate tax has affected her family, saying they scrambled to pay taxes on a family farm after a death.

“The main reason I support repealing the death tax is because it’s a double tax,” Noem said.

Chu noted that only 80 farms or small businesses were expected to pay the tax in 2017.

Committee back from House votes

11:20 a.m.

Ways and Means returned from its recess and voted down the wind-related Democratic amendment from the morning, along party lines.

Rep. Terri SewellTerrycina (Terri) Andrea SewellDemocrats unite to expand Social Security Senate panel postpones election security bill markup over lack of GOP support Hillicon Valley: FBI fires Strzok after anti-Trump tweets | Trump signs defense bill with cyber war policy | Google under scrutiny over location data | Sinclair's troubles may just be beginning | Tech to ease health data access | Netflix CFO to step down MORE (D-Ala.) withdrew her amendment on historic preservation "in the interest of time."

Committee recesses for House votes

10:45 a.m.

The House Ways and Means Committee is taking a recess for House votes.

Once House votes are complete, the markup will resume.

Sewell offers amendment to restore historic tax credit

10:20 a.m.

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) offered an amendment to preserve and expand the historic tax credit. 

Sewell said that the credit is a "key redevelopment tool in districts across America" that has helped to create jobs.

“The historic tax credit is a great return on investment,” she said.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) expressed opposition to the amendment.

"You can't have lower rates if you keep special deals in the code, picking some winners over some losers," he said.

Blumenauer goes off on cuts to renewable energy

9:45 a.m.

Rep. Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerOvernight Defense: Mattis dismisses talk he may be leaving | Polish president floats 'Fort Trump' | Dem bill would ban low-yield nukes Dems introduce bill to ban low-yield nukes Congress just failed our nation’s veterans when it comes to medical marijuana MORE (D-Ore.) kicked off the morning of Democratic amendments with an impassioned speech on wind energy, an industry he said now employs more than oil and coal.

He offered an amendment to keep a 2015 phaseout of a wind tax credit in place. The GOP bill would curb the credits.

“The wind energy industry took us at our word,” Blumenauer said. The industry, he said, began investing billions “to realize the promise of that deal. But your bill retroactively repeals that authority.”

At stake, he said, were 50,000 jobs and $50 million of investment. He entered an opinion piece from The Hill into the record in support of his views.

Rep. Kenny MarchantKenny Ewell MarchantOutdated global postal system hurts US manufacturers Tax reform 2.0 can alleviate Americans' chronic saving problem Overnight Energy: Proposed rule would roll back endangered species protections | House passes Interior, EPA spending | House votes to disavow carbon tax MORE (R-Texas) opposed the amendment.

“This wind production credit has too much risk and way too much abuse in it,” he said. “Ranchers who thought they were going to get a credit, thought they were going to get a stream of income, have just a slab sitting in the ground.”

Day four getting a late start

9:25 a.m.

The markup is off to a late start on Thursday.

Twenty minutes after the markup was expected to begin, many of the Ways and Means Committee's Democratic members are in their seats. However, no GOP members are present in the committee room.

Stakeholders are eagerly awaiting the start of Thursday's session and Chairman Kevin Brady's (R-Texas) expected amendment.