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House Majority Leader McCarthy: 'I don't think we should punish people for being successful'

  • House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says the federal government should not "punish people for being successful," responding to talk about a new, highest, fourth tax bracket.
  • On the possibility of a fourth bracket, the California Republican refused to confirm or deny it, saying only that House tax writers are "still working."
  • The current tax plan calls for collapsing the current seven personal tax brackets to just three: 12, 25 and 35 percent and nearly doubles the standard deduction.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Monday the federal government should not "punish people for being successful," responding to talk about a new, highest, fourth tax bracket.

"The simpler the better," McCarthy said in an interview with CNBC's "Squawk Box," referring to the GOP's tax reform plan. "I don't think we should punish people for being successful. I think we should encourage that."

The current tax plan calls for collapsing the current seven personal tax brackets to just three: 12, 25 and 35 percent and nearly doubles the standard deduction. The GOP has reportedly considered a fourth.

On the possibility of the fourth, the California Republican refused to confirm or deny it, saying only that House tax writers are "still working."

"People can work out the details, look at the others," McCarthy said. "I will wait until [The Committee] on Ways and Means comes out. That's their role."

Kevin McCarthy
Cameron Costa | CNBC
Kevin McCarthy

McCarthy described the Republicans' tax reform bill as "pro-growth" that will spark "fundamental change."

"When I look at the overall package ... people are going to keep more, there is going to be greater jobs, payroll is going to go up," McCarthy said.

House Republicans are expected to introduce their tax reform bill on Wednesday, a source told CNBC. The plan follows the House narrowly approving a Senate budget on Thursday, which was seen as crucial to GOP passing tax cuts later this year.

President Donald Trump's Council of Economic Advisers on Friday released a new report, which predicts corporate tax cuts alone will produce gross domestic product growth of 3 to 5 percent.

McCarthy said Monday arguments that the tax bill, as currently written, will not pay for itself are "not true."

"The argument that more people working with higher salaries, paying more revenue does not pay for itself — to me that's a Democratic point we've proved time and again," McCarthy said.

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