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Environment & Energy Report

Democrats Weighing Changes to SALT Cap, Social Security Benefits

Sept. 10, 2019, 5:23 PM

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) promised a “full-throttle discussion” on the $10,000 cap on the state and local tax deduction in the coming weeks.

Ways and Means Democrats met Sept. 10 to discuss their agenda for the rest of the year. The committee will likely decide on Sept. 12 whether to mark up a bill altering the cap, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) said after the meeting. Democrats want some action on the cap, which is unpopular in high-tax states such as New Jersey, New York, and California.

The SALT limit was added in the 2017 tax law. It isn’t yet clear what measure the committee would consider in a markup. Making any change would be a major battle in a divided Congress. And Democrats have also struggled with the fact that fully restoring the deduction would mostly benefit the wealthy.

Pascrell is pushing legislation (H.R. 1142, S. 437) that would repeal the cap and raise the top income tax rate.

Another bill (H.R. 1757) would increase the cap to $15,000 for individuals and $30,000 for couples.

Clean Energy, Social Security

Neal said he was interested in a “green energy package” that some Democrats are pushing. Ways and Means Democratic staff have been working on a tax energy package that could include a bipartisan bill (H.R. 2256) from Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), among others, that extends a tax credit of up to $7,500 for an eligible electric vehicle.

The credit currently phases out after a manufacturer sells 200,000 vehicles.

Ways and Means is also likely to mark up a bill (H.R. 860) from Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) to expand Social Security benefits, several members said.

The Penn-Wharton budget model estimates that the measure would almost eliminate Social Security’s long-run imbalance with a negligible impact on the economy in the first 10 years.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kaustuv Basu in Washington at kbasu@bloombergtax.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Patrick Ambrosio at pambrosio@bloombergtax.com; Colleen Murphy at cmurphy@bloombergtax.com