The Republican tax reform bill is poised to pass through Congress and onto President Trump's desk, having passed the Senate on Tuesday, December 19th, and merely needing a recount in the House for final approval. However, controversy is still surrounding some of the 1,000-page bill's obscure provisions and alterations. For instance, one passage, crafted by Orrin Hatch, the chair of the conference committee, supposedly lowers taxes for some members of Congress as well as the real estate industry. This is allegedly the passage that flipped Senator Bob Corker into a "yes" on the bill, which looks more than a little shady considering he's one of the people poised to benefit from it.
BREAKING: Orrin Hatch just admitted he crafted the key tax provision that could enrich @SenBobCorker, @SpeakerRyan, President Trump & top GOP lawmakers. The provision would also enrich the real estate industry, which is one of Hatch's top campaign donors. https://t.co/W7pRIzbdrp— David Sirota (@davidsirota) December 18, 2017
If you want people to be better informed, have some public hearings and stop writing bills in secret. Otherwise, you deserve any misguided criticisms you get.— William Brazelton (@wbrazelton) December 19, 2017
"Fesses up"? Yeah, that's not editorializing in headlines *at all*.— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) December 19, 2017
Hatch didn't confess anything. He explained that the provision had been part of negotiations for weeks, and that it treats pass-throughs similarly to "C" corporations, as @SenRonJohnson demanded. https://t.co/yZ1uhIdt1N
What is the argument for treating pass through income like corporate income? I’d suggest whole point in creating those types of business entities was to avoid having to treat the income of such entities as corporate income subject to corporate income taxes.— adub (@AlanWindham) December 19, 2017
The problem with his argument is that pass through income is personal income of individuals, not corporate income as in most large C corporations, whose distributions to equity owners are taxed again as capital gains. It’s not apples to apples.— adub (@AlanWindham) December 19, 2017
-GOP adds massive giveaway to rich to get votes to pass tax bill.— Reed F. Richardson (@reedfrich) December 18, 2017
-Says it didn't help with Corker's or any other specific Senator's vote.
-Also says it really doesn't have that big of an impact in a 1,000-page bill.
-But refuses to remove it. https://t.co/nuitgow7lx
Also note: Politico (left) lets a GOP source claim, with zero context/pushback, that the pass-through provision wasn't new. IBTimes (which has owned this story) actually fact-checks that claim and—lo and behold—it's false.https://t.co/T4flTNPGmZ pic.twitter.com/vJRQQUE8Bu— Reed F. Richardson (@reedfrich) December 19, 2017
This is what happens when the press gets lost in the process weeds. Journalists are usually lousy parliamentarians, so chasing that part of the story, instead of the bigger policy implications, is a losing proposition for the public.— Reed F. Richardson (@reedfrich) December 19, 2017
NBC: Orrin Hatch fesses up to special break in GOP tax bill that set off alarms— Mary Richards (@kslmrichards) December 19, 2017
Orrin Hatch denies including tax provision to win Corker support
Orrin Hatch 'disgusted' by press reports saying Corker pushed for tax bill change
I hope every reporter who interviews Bob Corker, John Cornyn, Susan Collins, Murkowski et.al. this week asks them if there is anything in the tax bill that benefits their personal, family or business finances. Or their estates. Senators should not get to cash in or out freely.— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) December 18, 2017
Earlier today, Chairman Hatch responded to my letter about reporting over the weekend about my involvement in the tax reform legislation, calling the accusations “categorically false.” “I am disgusted by [the] press reports,” he wrote. https://t.co/IfAr9sBmNQ— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) December 19, 2017
Good or bad, it seems the provision will become law in a very short amount of time - some people predict the new tax bill will take effect only 12 days from now. Because of passages like this one, many GOP Senators, as well as the President, stand to become a lot richer thanks to their lowered taxes. Of course, we're still not 100% sure what President Trump's taxes looks like - but it's never too late to find out.