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December 4, 2017

House votes to go to conference with Senate on tax bill

On December 4, 2017, the House voted 222-192 to go to conference with the Senate to resolve differences between their respective versions of the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act."

In the course of its own process to go to conference, the Senate will have up to 10 hours of debate prior to a vote to adopt a combined motion to agree to a conference and authorize the appointment of conferees. After the adoption of the motion and prior to the appointment of conferees, Senators can offer unlimited, nonbinding motions to instruct conferees. Press reports suggested a formal conference meeting could be convened before the end of the week.

Different versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act were passed by the House on November 16 and by the Senate on December 2. Near the end of its consideration, the Senate brought its bill closer to the House measure by restoring the state and local property tax deduction up to $10,000, and setting deemed repatriation transition tax rates at 14.5% and 7.5%; the House bill rates are 14% and 7%.

The Senate also opened up a major difference by proposing to retain the corporate alternative minimum tax, which House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said "has to be eliminated."

The bills differ in other ways. The Senate bill effectively repeals the Affordable Care Act individual insurance mandate by reducing the tax penalty to zero beginning in 2019, and makes the 20% statutory corporate tax rate effective in 2019, a year later than the House. The bills also take different approaches on anti-base erosion and pass-through taxation, and include different individual tax rates and income brackets.

As we reported earlier (Tax Alert 2017-2048), Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) named Republican members to serve on the conference committee. From the Ways and Means Committee, conferees are:

1. Conference Chair: Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX)
2. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)
3. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL)
4. Rep. Diane Black (R-TN)
5. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD)

For the purposes of provisions outside the jurisdiction of Ways and Means, the House named conferees from the Natural Resources Committee, Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK); and from the Energy and Commerce Committee, Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL).


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