Republican Sen. Ted Cruz urged his colleagues to do more for individual taxpayers Tuesday while praising their recently released tax reform bill.
Cruz expressed his thoughts on how the bill could be improved alongside lawmakers and Tax policy experts during a press conference. He gave high praise for the first draft of the bill, which was released Nov. 2, for easing the tax burden on businesses while also reclaiming offshore profits. But he notes more can be done on the individual taxpayer side.
The National Taxpayers Union hosted the conference which included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Republicans are hoping to simplify the tax code while lowering business and individual rates. Cruz notes more should be done to ensure rates are lowered for everyone. He also notes the final bill should dump the tax imposed by the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
“I think we need to do even more to provide a tax cut, not just tax reform, but a tax cut to every American, to working men and women,” Cruz said to a crowd of reporters. “I think there is a path forward, that I think the president laid out last week, which is repealing the individual mandate.”
The individual mandate is a requirement under the healthcare law that imposes a tax penalty on anyone who isn’t covered by health insurance or a public insurance program like Medicaid. Cruz argues the penalty is unfair because it essentially fines people who might not be able to afford health insurance in the first place.
Cruz went on to argue that the final draft of the bill should also do more to ensure tax rates are lowered across the board. The bill is intended to lower rates for upper and middle-income earners, but there has been a debate on how many of those taxpayers will actually see their tax liability go down. He added the bill does a good job on the corporate and business side.
“We need to do every bit as good on the individual side,” Cruz said. “Every American, every family, every individual should see a real tax cut to make it easier to provide for their needs. If we do that, it will produce jobs, it will produce economic growth, and it will produce fairness for every American. That’s our objective.”
The tax reform bill reduces the seven current income brackets, what people will be taxed based on their income level, down to four. The highest income bracket under the bill remains at the current top rate of 39.6 percent. The next highest income bracket is set at 35 percent, followed by a 25 percent rate and a 12 percent rate. A zero percent rate will also be applied to the lowest income earners.
President Donald Trump entertained the idea of repealing the individual mandate. CNBC reports that the president may also have already prepared an executive order that could end the provision. House Speaker Paul Ryan recently noted it was an idea that was at least being considered during the tax reform debate. But marrying tax reform and healthcare in that way could make the bill harder to get passed.