'We want to lower taxes at every level,' Rep. Kevin Brady says

  • Rep. Kevin Brady says the House has not decided to add an extra, higher tax rate on wealthy Americans.
  • On Tuesday, CNBC reported that the House was "highly likely" to do so.
  • Republicans want to pass a tax-reform plan by the end of the year.

The top House tax writer on Wednesday said that lawmakers have not yet decided to add a fourth, top income tax rate on the wealthy.

"We want to lower taxes at every level so people keep more of their hard-earned dollars," Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"Before we finalize the income tax brackets and where we begin and end, we just want to make sure we have a full picture of what taxpayers are facing these days," the Texas Republican added.

CNBC reported on Tuesday that House Republicans are "highly likely" to set a higher rate for wealthy Americans than the one outlined in their framework last month. The plan gave the GOP an option to set a fourth income tax rate higher than the 35 percent top rate set out in the proposal.

Adding a fourth rate, which likely would not be higher than the current top income tax rate of 39.6 percent, may help Republicans curb criticism that their plan helps the wealthy.

Brady is one of the so-called Big Six officials from the White House and Congress working on the GOP tax plan, which aims to chop individual and income taxes while scrapping some deductions and loopholes. The framework released by the tax writers last month lacked many key details, like the income brackets paying each rate and how lawmakers will fund large tax cuts.

One of the possible tools to make up for lost tax revenue is dropping state and local tax deductions. However, that provision could face opposition from Republicans in high-tax blue states, where taxpayers benefit from the deductions.

Brady called it "speculation" that Republicans could consider keeping those deductions.

"We are listening very carefully to lawmakers, especially in high-tax states," he said.

Brady added that Republicans are "taking our time to make sure we get it right."

Republicans hope to pass a tax-reform plan before the end of the year.