Black appointed to House-Senate conference committee on tax legislation

Press release from U.S. House Budget Committee

Washington, D.C. – House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a motion to go to conference with the Senate in order to deliver tax reform for the first time in more than three decades. Chairman Black has been appointed by Speaker Paul Ryan to serve on the conference committee.

“Following action in the Senate last week, I am encouraged that both chambers of Congress have taken steps to advance tax reform legislation for the American people. While there are still differences that must be worked out in conference, our core mission is the same. As we move into these important conversations, I am confident that we can deliver historic reform that provides much-needed tax relief for hardworking middle-class American families, simplifies our outdated tax code and empowers businesses to create jobs. The American people deserve nothing less.”

Black talked about her then-pending appointment to the conference committee while campaigning in Northeast Tennessee Monday, reports the Johnson City Press.

“They’ll choose a certain number of Republicans and a certain number of Democrats, but I have an indication that I may be chosen because of being the chairman of the (House) Budget Committee and the fact that the budget really was the golden key to opening the tax reform,” Black said. “So I have a good indication that I may have the privilege of serving on that conference committee.” 

One major difference between the two tax-reform bills is the Senate version sunsets individual tax breaks in 2025, while the House version made its individual tax breaks permanent, a provision Black intends to lobby for if she is nominated to the conference. 

“I think our bill gives people certainty in both the business side and individual side, and we’ll be pushing for that measure to be our bill rather than the Senate bill,” Black said. 

While campaigning across the state, Black said she believes most Tennesseans will appreciate having a simplified tax code. 

“At least what I’m hearing from people on both the business side and also on the individual side is that they know the tax code has been so complicated and so difficult to do that they want something that’s simpler,” Black said. 

“The fact (is) that we have a plan where 95 percent of the Tennesseans will be able to file their taxes on a single postcard size. In addition to that, businesses are pleased that they will see a reduction in their tax burden, especially small businesses.”

Citing “independent sources,”  Black estimated the bill will provide middle-income Tennesseans with about $1,200 in tax relief, while also creating about 18,000 jobs statewide. 

Members of the conservative Freedom Caucus staged a brief attempt to block the appointment of House conference committee members and then backed off the “political stunt,” reports Politico. Included in the article is a list of the House conferees:

After the Freedom Caucus stood down on Monday, Ryan ended up naming nine members to the conference committee, headlined by Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas). Reps. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Don Young (R-Alaska), Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and John Shimkus (R-Ill.) were also named as conferees.

Democrats named three Ways and Means members: ranking member Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Reps. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) and Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas). Reps. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) and Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), two non-Ways and Means members, were also appointed.

The Senate is expected to name its negotiators later this week, though many tax observers expect GOP leaders and top tax writers to make the difficult decisions on reconciling the two bills.


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