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White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow doubts Republicans can push another round of tax cuts through Congress before November's midterm elections.
On Monday, the National Economic Council director said he does not think the GOP's latest tax legislation will clear both chambers of Congress even if the House holds a vote on it. Still, he called the House GOP measure — which would make individual tax cuts passed last year permanent — a "very good idea."
"No, I don't think it'll pass, it'll get through the whole Congress," Kudlow said at the Economic Club of New York. "But it's a good message. I think it's a good message. And I think we can do a lot more on tax reform going down the road."
House Republicans aim to vote this month on a range of proposals making up their second phase of tax reform. The House Ways and Means Committee already approved them last week. The plans include locking in the individual rates as well as changes to make saving for retirement easier, among other tweaks.
While the House could pass the legislation, the Senate is unlikely to do so. Republicans, who hold 51 seats in the upper chamber, would need to get nine Democrats on board to reach the required 60-vote threshold.
Kudlow hinted at part of congressional Republicans' motivation for putting the proposals forward now: messaging. The GOP wants more selling points for voters as it tries to stop Democrats from flipping the 23 GOP-held seats needed to take a House majority. Their first tax overhaul passed in December has seen mediocre public approval and fallen out of some candidates' main talking points.
Republicans aim in part to put pressure on Democrats after they repeatedly said last year's GOP reform package disproportionately helped the wealthy and corporations. Democrats have also raised concerns about fueling larger budget deficits by extending the tax cuts, which were set to expire after 2025.
Locking in the individual tax cuts would tack on another $630 billion to budget deficits, according to an estimate from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation.