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Ted Cruz lays marker on tax reform

Niels Lesniewski, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- Laying down a conservative marker for overhauling the tax code, Sen. Ted Cruz is calling on tax-writers to go much bolder than they probably intend.

The Texas Republican wants to use as long as a 30-year budget window for a reconciliation bill that would be focused on tax cuts, rather than on a deficit neutral proposal. But the unlikeliest of the Cruz proposals is using the same reconciliation vehicle to roll back the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law.

The longer budget window, which has been talked about before, could be a way around a repeat of the problem with the tax reductions from the beginning of the George W. Bush administration, which faced a 10-year sunset.

"There is no magic 10-year window," Cruz said in prepared remarks to Hillsdale College's Kirby Center, keynoting a Tax Foundation event, pointing to past examples of different duration.

"With federal revenues set to rise significantly above what they have been for the last 50 years, we must strive to do better. We must actually lower the amount of money the federal government takes from hardworking Americans by enacting a real tax cut and not just reforming the tax code to shift the tax burden from one group to another," Cruz said.

Like President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, Cruz is pushing a lower corporate rate and for the elimination of estate taxes, which were already curtailed as part of the last big tax deal with President Barack Obama.

Cruz also wants immediate expensing -- allowing for the full deduction of capital purchases in the year they take place -- rather than the current system of deductions according to a depreciation schedule that stretches over years.

"Domestic capital investment increases productivity, which results in more jobs and higher wages. And that means higher living standards for American families," Cruz said. "

He is also continuing to push for a transition to a territorial tax system and provisions that make it favorable for companies to repatriate foreign earnings to the United States.

In his remarks, the Republican from Texas also pushed to use the expedited reconciliation vehicle to end the Obama-era financial regulatory law known as Dodd-Frank. That seems quite unlikely, since it would require a decision when the Senate moves forward with a budget resolution. The Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs panel would need to get reconciliation instructions within the resolution.

"As we're pursuing pro-growth policies, we should also use the reconciliation bill to repeal Dodd-Frank. The wave of new regulations it created has driven consolidation of smaller banks or their outright sale to larger institutions," Cruz said. "So, big banks are getting bigger, and small financial institutions are disappearing."

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