A far-right proposal under discussion in GOP circles that would eliminate federal income taxes but replace that lost source of federal revenue with a sales tax totaling a whopping 30 percent doesn’t have the support of top Republicans in the House including Kevin McCarthy, reports indicate. In terms of the share of income taken up by taxes, the measure would disproportionately impact low-income Americans if implemented.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), who’s also in leadership among House Republicans, has also expressed opposition. More recent reports claim that McCarthy agreed during negotiations ahead of finally securing the role of House Speaker for the disputed tax proposal to get a hearing in a committee — which it’s not clear is all that different from what might ordinarily be available. “Top Republicans told Axios that McCarthy’s agreement only guaranteed the bill would get a hearing in committee,” that site reported earlier this week, and an ally to McCarthy who worked on negotiations among Republicans spoke in similarly broad, dismissive terms. “Any legislative proposal by any member would have to go through committee in regular order, have hearings, be marked up and be subject to amendment,” Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) said.
Predictably, the proposal has seen intense and consistent opposition from Dems, including President Joe Biden, who has also spotlighted the bill already passed by the new Republican majority in the House that if ever made law would undo tens of billions of dollars in additional funding set aside for the IRS. Pushes to support the federal tax agency have led to oddly dramatic and just inaccurate proclamations from leading Republicans about a supposed threat of violence from armed IRS agents against those the agency might target. Only a small portion of the agency’s staff even carries firearms, and trying to pretend as though there is some kind of documented — or even reasonably suggested or assumed — conspiracy targeting the physical safety of small business owners in Iowa or any other state is just objectively a nonsensical contention.
“We made the code more simplified and got rid of a lot of loopholes, and so I want to see us continue focusing on the fairness and simplicity of a tax code,” Scalise said to The Hill, arguing in favor of instead expanding the effective period of portions of the tax reforms Republicans enacted early in Trump’s time as president. The measure enacting a national sales tax has some far-right supporters already co-sponsoring it, including GOP Reps. Scott Perry, Ralph Norman, Matt Gaetz, and Marjorie Taylor Greene. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), who helped lead the unsuccessful opposition among Republicans to McCarthy becoming Speaker, is also a co-sponsor of the initiative, which it appears was already formally referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, where new GOP chair Rep. Jason Smith has also spoken of a public hearing. “We’re going to have a public, transparent hearing on that issue and we’ll see where it goes from there,” Smith told Axios.