Ryan Says Tax Bill's Temporary Breaks to Continue, Ignoring Cost

(Bloomberg) -- House Speaker Paul Ryan said temporary provisions in the GOP tax bill won’t really go away in a few years -- he predicted that future Congresses will preserve them, and he didn’t mention the impact that would have on the federal deficit.

The House legislation calls for eliminating its $300 family tax credit starting in 2023, but the measure would be such a popular benefit that a future Congress would extend it, Ryan said Tuesday. That family credit, combined with an increased child tax credit, is estimated to cost $431 billion over a decade -- part of an overall bill that would increase the federal deficit by more than $1.4 trillion, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Extending the family credit would only add to that cost. The expanded child tax credit is not set to expire in the bill.

Ryan said the only reason for making the family credit and other provisions temporary was to comply with Senate budget rules. The bill can’t add more than $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, according to the budget adopted by both chambers.

“The point is to get this policy in place, and we do not intend to have these sunsets occur, but we have to do this to make it compliant,” Ryan told reporters Tuesday.

Although the decision would be up to a future Congress, Ryan has been touting the extension of the family tax credit, along with other benefits, in response to analyses that show some middle-class families would see their taxes increase over the next decade under the House bill’s changes.

On the corporate side, Ryan has said a provision that would allow companies to fully and immediately write off their capital expenditures for five years would also probably be extended. That measure is estimated to cost $25 billion before expiring in 2023, according to the JCT. The Tax Foundation, an independent Washington policy group, has said that permanently allowing full and immediate expensing could cost as much as $2.2 trillion over a decade.

“We’re going to go for the greatest amount of permanence we can get in those funny Senate rules which we have to comply with,” House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said during a Bloomberg TV interview on Tuesday.

Brady didn’t specify any other provisions House lawmakers support changing to help meet budget constraints, but he did say the full repeal of state and local tax deductions -- which the initial Senate plan has proposed -- was a red line.

“I’ve made the commitment to our members in the House that we will restore the state and local property tax deduction up to $10,000,” Brady said.

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