Furiously working to finish a tax bill, House Republicans have decided to keep the income tax rate for the wealthiest earners in the face of Democratic criticism that the overhaul pushed by President Trump would benefit the rich. The GOP blew past its self-imposed deadline for public release, with the rollout now set for Thursday. Trump set an ambitious by-Christmas timetable for passage of what he hopes will be the first major rewrite of the US tax system in three decades. Tax writers decided to maintain the highest personal income tax rate at its current 39.6% and to slash the corporate tax rate to 20% from 39%, the AP reports. They strained to complete other last-minute changes, but they failed to finalize details to meet their Wednesday deadline for a public release.
"We are making excellent progress. We are very close," said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. "A lot of work remains with the drafters, they are continuing to work through the night. We are moving forward." The committee plans to vote on the bill next week, he said. Brady didn't answer directly when asked whether the drop in the corporate tax rate would happen immediately or be phased in. What he did say: "I want as much growth right from Day One as I can." Trump has intensified his lobbying for the nearly $6 trillion tax overhaul plan, and late Tuesday after word came of the delay, the president renewed his cheerleading on Twitter: "The Republican House members are working hard (and late) toward the Massive Tax Cuts that they know you deserve. These will be biggest ever!"