Republicans Delay Releasing Tax Bill, Signaling Trouble for Party

As Republicans rushed to lock down support from their members and key interest groups earlier on Tuesday, some new details of the bill began to trickle out.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, told conservative groups on Tuesday afternoon that the draft bill would cut the top corporate tax rate to 20 percent immediately, and not phase it in over a period of years, as had been discussed, according to a meeting attendee.

Mr. Ryan also said that the plan would include a higher rate for the wealthiest earners, which would be above the 35 percent that Republicans have identified as their top tax rate in the framework released in September. He did not indicate whether the wealthiest would continue to pay the current top rate of 39.6 percent or if it would be higher or lower.


Mr. Trump met with business executives on Tuesday at the White House.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Attendees were also told by Mr. Ryan that Republicans would phase in a full repeal of the estate tax over several years.

The House bill will include a worldwide minimum tax on multinational corporations’ profits, two people with knowledge of the drafting said, in an effort to prevent companies from shifting money abroad as the United States transitions to a so-called territorial tax system, which would subject only income earned domestically to the American corporate tax rate. The tax would be on all global income, and not on a country-by-country basis, as some companies had feared.

Republican leaders also confirmed they would maintain a federal tax deduction for at least some state and local property taxes paid, while eliminating comparable deductions for income and sales taxes.

Other issues remained in flux or unknown outside of a select group of lawmakers and congressional staff. Those include the size of an expanded child tax credit; whether to phase in or sunset some rate cuts; and the specifics of how the plan might affect tax-free retirement savings.

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Mr. Trump invited nearly two dozen leaders of major business groups — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute and the American Farm Bureau Federation — to the White House on Tuesday morning to discuss the bill. In the afternoon, Mr. Ryan met with Mr. Trump and then with more than a dozen conservative groups on the tax bill, including the Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity.

Each of those groups — and in many cases, individual companies — will be watching for how lawmakers change tax breaks large and small in their overhaul of the tax code. Business leaders, in particular, are ready to applaud or attack the bill depending on how those changes affect their bottom lines.

“We’re trying to see, and evaluate with a calculator at the end of the day, are the incentives going to be right to help the economy to grow?” said David Stevens, the president of the Mortgage Bankers Association, whose industry has much at stake in the rewrite of the tax code.

A Halloween-themed news release from Mr. Ryan’s office on Tuesday suggested that Republicans are prepared for many business groups to oppose the bill when it is released. “The special interest ghouls will do anything to protect all their little tricks and treats,” the release said. “They will haunt the hallways and demonize our plan. They will conjure up new scare tactics and spread wicked tales.”

Party leaders are already struggling to kill off some tax breaks they had targeted for elimination. Republicans had proposed wiping out the entire deduction for state and local taxes, which is particularly valuable to high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California. After running into resistance from lawmakers, Mr. Brady said over the weekend that the coming tax plan would include “an itemized property tax deduction to help taxpayers with local tax burdens.”

In an interview on Tuesday with the radio host Hugh Hewitt, Mr. Brady said the tax bill would not include a deduction for state or local income taxes.

“Our lawmakers in those high-tax states really believe their families are being punished the most by property taxes,” Mr. Brady said, adding that those taxes “are not based on your ability to pay — they’re just painful.”

Mr. Brady also signaled the deduction for property taxes could be limited. Asked if there would be no cap on that deduction, Mr. Brady responded, “To be determined.”

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Representative Tom Reed, Republican of New York and a member of the Ways and Means Committee, said on Tuesday it was clear that the original plan to fully eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes was “not going to occur.”

“I think that shows a demonstration by our leadership and by the powers to be that we recognize that this issue needs to be resolved,” Mr. Reed told reporters. He said that retaining a deduction for property taxes was “gaining traction as we get to the finish line here.”

It did not appear on Tuesday that the compromise was sufficient to win over all the blue-state House Republicans who had raised concerns.

Democrats criticized the compromise. “Go figure that high property-tax states like Texas, Chairman Brady’s state, would be better off under the proposal,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader. “Picking winners and losers like this doesn’t solve the problem. The new state and local compromise is still a nearly trillion-dollar tax hike on the middle clbad to pay for tax giveaways to big corporations and the very wealthy.”

Mr. Trump pushed back on Democratic criticism in his meeting with business leaders.

“The Democrats will say our tax bill is for the rich, but they know it’s not,” he said. He added, “The Democrats want to raise taxes and really create obstruction, and the Republicans want to lower taxes, and we want to get rid of regulations.”

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