Oct 31, 2017

How the Senate tax bill is shaping up

Tax demands made by Sen. Susan Collins may already be included in the Senate plan. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

The House is set to release its tax plan on Wednesday, but the Senate is planning on releasing its own bill about a week or so after. The bill will differ in some significant ways from the House bill, and is geared toward attracting moderates like Sen. Susan Collins — and even potentially Democrats .

Here's how the Senate plan is shaping up, per congressional aides and an administration official.

  • The Senate is likely to not fully repeal the "estate tax" — a 40 percent tax on estates worth more than $5.49 million for individuals and $10.98 million for couples. This is a key demand of Collins, per Bloomberg.
  • The Senate is more likely than the House to do a full repeal of the state and local tax deduction.
  • Yes, but: If there's any hope of courting Democrats, the deduction probably can't be fully repealed. There are currently quiet conversations ongoing with Democrats viewed as potentially gettable (such as Sens. Claire McCaskill and Tom Carper on the Finance Committee), per an administration official.
  • Like the House, there are likely to be four individual tax brackets — including keeping the current top rate of 39.6 percent on the wealthy (another Collins demand, although specifics matter). Both chambers have discussed levying this rate on people making $1 million and higher.
  • The Senate is unlikely to make changes to 401(k) contribution limits, although President Trump may have killed this idea in both chambers last week.
  • The Senate, along with the House, is likely to have a phase-in of the lower corporate rate.

Go deeper

Coronavirus stress tests drug industry's dependence on China

A Hong Kong commuter wears a face mask. Photo: Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

It's unclear whether the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus will actually result in prescription drug shortages, but it has undoubtedly highlighted the potential vulnerabilities of having the supply chain for American drugs so dependent on China.

Driving the news: About 150 prescription drugs — including antibiotics, generics and some branded drugs without alternatives — are at risk of shortage if the coronavirus outbreak in China worsens, per two sources familiar with a list of at-risk drugs compiled by the Food and Drug Administration.

Go deeperArrow28 mins ago - Health

Bernie's path to the presidency

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks yesterday during a rally at Houston University. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

Lots of Democrats are in full panic that Bernie Sanders will win the nomination and get clobbered in the general election — and bring the party down, too. But the evidence, particularly the polling, doesn't back those doomsday warnings.

Why it matters: Virtually every national and swing state poll shows Sanders tied with or beating President Trump.  And, unlike every rival, he has a huge base of fervent, unshakable supporters he can only grow.

These swing voters don't like Trump’s environmental rollbacks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Swing voters in four battleground states decisively oppose President Trump’s sweeping rollbacks of environmental regulations — but it’s unlikely to sway their votes.

Why it matters: It’s voters living in states like these, including Florida and Pennsylvania, who fill pivotal roles electing America’s presidents, so we should listen.