From the Washington Post:
The Republican effort to overhaul the tax code suffered a bruising setback over the weekend when a powerful corporate interest group came out against the proposal just days ahead of House leaders’ planned release of the legislation to the public.
President Donald Trump and GOP leaders are casting the measure as a once-in-a-generation rewrite of the federal tax code, one they say will stimulate the economy, create millions of jobs and give voters a reason to stick with their party in next year’s midterm elections. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is scheduled to reveal the House version of the bill on Wednesday.
A discouraging clue emerged for House Republicans on Saturday, when the National Association of Home Builders came out against the bill after Brady informed the group’s chief executive about key details.
“We will do everything we can to defeat this thing,” said Jerry Howard, chief executive officer of the National Association of Home Builders.
For Trump and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., the stakes couldn’t be higher. With the approach of the end of their first year controlling the White House and Congress, and the failure of health-care legislation still fresh, Republicans are desperate to post a win before next year’s midterm election cycle begins in earnest. By many of their own accounts, failure to pass tax legislation could lead to an electoral bloodbath, and the end of Ryan’s political career, in 2018.
Much of the pressure, and spotlight, will fall on Brady. A bare-pated, unfailingly sunny former Chamber of Commerce executive who is largely unknown outside of Washington after 20 years on Capitol Hill, Brady’s challenge is to build consensus while fellow Republican lawmakers, corporate lobbyists and perhaps even Trump himself pick the bill apart.
Howard said home builders like other parts of the tax plan, such as tax cuts for businesses and lower rates for many families. But he feared that other changes could tip the housing industry into a recession. He was particularly concerned about ideas to eliminate the federal deduction for state and local taxes and doubling the standard deduction, which could remove incentives for all but the “very wealthy” to deduct their mortgage interest – and have a chilling effect on homeownership.
After Brady communicated that the changes would not be made, top NAHB officials held an emergency conference call on Saturday and agreed unanimously to oppose the bill after months of reserving judgment, a spokesman for the organization said. Now, the group is preparing a public campaign against the bill, with plans to mobilize members in congressional districts across the country.