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Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., responds to questions. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

House and Senate Republicans are trying to keep the deficit impact of their tax plans under the budget's $1.5 trillion limit, in part by proposing sunsets on some of the plan's major cuts and exclusions. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said some of those sunsets won't actually happen.

Why it matters: The nonpartisan think tank Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says extending the sunsets in the future would "add over $350 billion to the cost of the bill" and bring the deficit impact closer to $2 trillion. A Penn Wharton Budget Model analysis similarly found the plan would add more than $2 trillion over 10 years.

  • Columbia Law School Professor Michael Graetz, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the U.S. Treasury, told Axios Republicans are underestimating "the cost of this exercise" because the sunsets are included in many estimates making top headlines. "The sunsets are "going to clearly get extended," he says, and if they do, "they're going to start costing some real money."
  • History: The sunsets proposed in the Bush tax cuts in the early 2000s were not ultimately implemented.
  • Be smart: Republicans all want to cut taxes, but many also have deep concerns about blowing up the deficit, so these calculations matter. The question is when they will matter: it might not matter to Republicans right now since the consequences (blowing up the deficit) of extending the sunsets won't face them for years. But make no mistake, no lawmaker wants to be caught pulling away family credits or standard deductions.

Go deeper

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

4 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.

5 hours ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.

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