Vern Buchanan unveils GOP plan to make Donald Trump-era tax cuts permanent

Republicans are tapping U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan to carry priority tax legislation as the GOP aims to retake a House majority.

The Longboat Key Republican unveiled a plan to make tax cuts passed under President Donald Trump permanent. Buchanan, the second-highest ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee behind Ranking Republican Kevin Brady, presented the package as essential for strengthening the economy.

Billed as a direct extension and expansion of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, the legislation offers an economic vision as Republicans make a case to voters in a crucial Midterm Election.

“In 2017, Republicans delivered the most comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. tax code in more than three decades and achieved historic economic growth,” Buchanan said.

“Under the leadership of Leader Brady, we delivered historic tax relief to low and middle-income families and small businesses across all income levels. With Americans continuing to suffer under the weight of record-high inflation and an uncertain economic future, we need to provide some much-needed relief and certainty to hardworking families and ensure these tax cuts do not expire.”

The original TCJA passed while Republicans retained a majority in the House and Senate and Trump still occupied the White House. But 23 provisions of the law expire in 2025 unless Congress takes action.

Should Buchanan’s bill pass and become law, the measure would not only preserve the tax cuts but codify them so they don’t phase out unless Congress repealed them.

The legislation would permanently lower tax rates for individuals and families at all income levels.

It also preserves a 20% deduction for small businesses nationwide. Buchanan, a former Florida Chamber of Commerce Chair, has long championed startup entrepreneurs in tax policy, and noted 50% of the American workforce works for small businesses.

Standard deductions on federal income tax would remain at high levels, and the child tax credit, doubled under the TCJA, would remain at its current levels. It also leaves a simplified filing process, allowing around 90% of Americans to maximize tax benefits without itemizing.

Besides preserving elements of the TCJA, the legislation also increases eligibility to utilize 529 savings plans for higher education.

But beyond fiscal policy, the fact that Buchanan will carry this bill signals growing influence for the Republican co-Chair of Florida’s congressional delegation.

The bill boasts the support of key GOP figures including Brady, Republican Study Committee Chair Jim Banks, Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry and Republican Governance Group Chair David Joyce.

Brady voiced his support for the plan as a stark shift in outlook from that of the Democratic majority and President Joe Biden.

“Unlike the cruel economy of President Biden, under the modernized Republican tax code of 2017 America’s economy was growing, paychecks were rising twice as fast as inflation, jobs were coming back from overseas, millions of Americans were lifted out of poverty and communities enjoyed record business investment here in America,” Brady said.

“Making the historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act permanent will lock in low taxes for families and small businesses struggling with record inflation, and create certainty for the pro-growth provisions that leapfrogged America to the most competitive economy in the world.”

The bill was crafted by Buchanan’s staff in conjunction with that of the Republican staff for the House Ways and Means committee.

Since Brady isn’t seeking re-election this year, Buchanan stands in line to be the senior-most Republican on the most powerful committee in Congress, and he’s made clear he wants to Chair the panel should Republicans win a majority. He has already Chaired five of six Ways and Means subcommittees during his eight terms in Congress, and he sits on the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Buchanan has raised more $3 million for the National Republican Congressional Committee, more than any member of Congress not already in Republican leadership. That most recently included a fundraiser on Longboat Key last weekend. And according to Punchbowl News, he also has pledged to raise another $1 million this cycle.

Now, he’s been entrusted with a key piece of GOP legislation that serves as a blueprint that candidates can share with voters and donors about how tax policy will evolve under a potential GOP majority — if not under Biden, then under a Republican who wins the presidency in 2024.

Buchanan’s office pointed to economic benefits from the Trump-era tax cuts, with tax rates reduced in every income level but America’s Top 1% of earners paying a higher portion of federal gas taxes. The Tax Foundation projects a 2.2% increase in the national gross domestic product long-term if the cuts become permanent.

“The results of TCJA were nothing short of stunning, but not surprising,” Buchanan said. “As someone who spent 30 years doing business, I know from experience that making our tax code more competitive means greater prosperity for small businesses and families.”

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