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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

D.C.-Beijing tensions are shifting markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. markets stand to lose $2 trillion in value if D.C. and Beijing drift further apart.

Why it matters: Political chasms are showing up in new securities regulations that put companies and investors in a bind. The rules are also another reflection of how much relations between the world’s largest economies have cooled, even as they remain economically interdependent. 

27 mins ago - Health
Axios Investigates

Documents reveal the secrecy of America's drug pricing matrix

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

American businesses spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on prescription drugs, and the bills keep getting bigger. But some of the companies promising to help rein in those costs prevent employers from looking under the hood.

Why it matters: Documents provided to Axios reveal a new layer of secrecy within the maze of American drug pricing — one in which firms that manage drug coverage for hundreds of employers, representing millions of workers, obscure the details of their work and make it difficult to figure out whether they're actually providing a good deal.

Congress' chip-funding pause raises alarms

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Despite bipartisan support in the Senate, a plea by the Commerce Secretary and growing desperation from industry officials, Congress still can't get a key bill that funds the U.S. chip business over the finish line.

Why it matters: With the global chip shortage continuing to crimp the economy, the semiconductor industry has ramped up pressure for funding of U.S.-based manufacturing facilities as one remedy.

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