Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives were expected on Thursday to release a tax bill offering plenty of flexibility, as they grapple with stubborn internal disagreements on paying for the tax cuts they propose.
After an embarrassing one-day postponement of the bill's unveiling on Wednesday, lawmakers have made plans for a measure that will seek up to $6 trillion in tax cuts over 10 years but likely not spell out completely how to offset them.
Asked if the bill would contain a permanent corporate tax rate cut to 20 percent from 35 percent, U.S. House of Representatives tax panel Chairman Kevin Brady told reporters: "That's our goal and I think it's going to take several steps ... to achieve that."
Lobbyists said Republicans were having trouble reaching consensus on where to find revenue to pay for tax cuts and would likely have to make the corporate cut temporary as a result.
After a White House meeting with advisers, President Donald Trump told reporters: "Sometime tomorrow, we'll be announcing massive tax cuts and reform."
House Republican leaders and tax panel members were slated to meet with Trump at the White House on Thursday afternoon.
From mortgage interest and 401(k) retirement plans to the federal deficit and state and local taxes, numerous unanswered questions swirled around the tax-cut plan as lawmakers met into the evening on Capitol Hill.
Representative Tom MacArthur, asked if fellow Republicans could meet their ambitious deadline of approving a tax bill by the Nov. 23 Thanksgiving holiday, told reporters: "I've been called a lot of things but 'prophet' is not one of them."
Since taking over Congress and the White House in January, the Republicans and Trump have yet to score a major legislative accomplishment. That will change, they say, when they overhaul the tax code for the first time in 31 years.
But they are fast discovering why every attempt to do that has failed since former Republican President Ronald Reagan's historic tax reform in 1986.
Unlike the nearly three-year Reagan effort involving public hearings and bipartisan cooperation, the Trump tax plan was developed in secret over a few months by six senior lawmakers and White House advisers who took little input from rank-and-file Republicans and largely ignored the Democrats.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that the "chaotic delay" of the tax bill's release showed Republicans were "pushing a half-baked tax bill with ruinous consequences for workers and middle-class Americans."