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GOP Tax Bill: Winners And Losers And What's Next


President Trump is heading to Asia just as Republicans in Congress begin the hard work of trying to pass major tax legislation.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I'm counting on all of you to help maintain a momentum on the tax cuts and tax reform during that time. I have no doubt you'll be able to do it.

SHAPIRO: That was President Trump speaking yesterday at the White House with Republican leaders. NPR's Tamara Keith joins us from the White House to talk through the next step for this giant tax plan. Hi, Tam.


SHAPIRO: So it's just been one day since House Republicans introduced their draft bill. What happens next?

KEITH: Well, I think the most important thing to say here is that this is just the beginning. The man for - responsible for ushering this through the House Ways and - is House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady. And he said in a statement today that on Monday he will offer an amendment making, quote, "more substantive improvements to the bill." Brady also spoke today at an event sponsored by Politico's Playbook and explained that the draft bill is far from the final word.


KEVIN BRADY: As we see where there are areas we can improve, we've thrown a lot of new stuff on the international side, on the small business pass-through side, on interest deductible. We're going with significantly different concepts here. We expect to be incorporating those improvements and fine-tuning it.

SHAPIRO: Tam, there's this common line that with any big piece of legislation, its first day is its best day because after that, everybody sees the things that are less popular about it. So here we are on day two. Do you have a better sense of who the winners and losers in this tax bill are?

KEITH: Well, there's still a lot that we don't know about how the proposed bill would play out for individual taxpayers or individual businesses. But there are some broad strokes. So let's start with a very basic list of potential winners - corporations, traditional manufacturers, many low- and middle-income taxpayers depending on their individual circumstances, some small business owners, very wealthy people with big estates that they plan to pass on and also upper-middle-income and upper-income taxpayers currently hit by the alternative minimum tax.

SHAPIRO: OK. If those are the winners, who are the likely losers?

KEITH: Potential losers would be high-tech and pharmaceutical companies that do a lot of manufacturing overseas, homebuilders and realtors, people in high-tax states or with big mortgages, people with big student loan debt, the sick and the elderly with high medical costs that they've been writing off. Also, Republican Senator Marco Rubio said that he's disappointed that the child tax credit in this isn't larger, that there isn't more help for people to offset child care expenses.

And already today, House Democrats brought out a bunch of people who they say will be adversely affected by the tax proposal. That included Susan Flashman, who said that she relied on being able to write off her medical expenses for several years after getting brain surgery. Here she is.


SUSAN FLASHMAN: Due to my condition and other multiple surgeries, I used the medical expense deduction over eight to 10 years and saved hundreds of dollars on a year on my federal taxes. Being able to deduct my medical expenses was extremely important when I was unable to work.

KEITH: So in short, every piece of the tax code has a constituency, and every member of Congress can expect to hear from all of them very soon.

SHAPIRO: And we've only seen a draft proposal in the House. There's also the Senate. The president wants to sign a bill into law by the end of the year. What has to happen between now and then to make that reality?

KEITH: Oh, a whole lot. (Laughter) And I can just say that it is going to be a Super Bowl of lobbying.

SHAPIRO: (Laughter) That's NPR's Tamara Keith speaking with us from the White House. Thanks, Tam.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.
Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.