Republican civil war: The GOP has no idea how to structure tax cuts

Members of the congressional GOP can't agree on whether tax cuts should be revenue neutral

By Matthew Rozsa
March 8, 2017 11:43PM (UTC)
main article image
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

The Republican Party are already in the midst of a civil war over the House Republicans' repeal-and-replace plan for Obamacare, and now it looks like another internal feud is brewing — this one over whether tax cuts should be revenue neutral.

Although the tax reform plan supported by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has the goal of ultimately being revenue-neutral — that is, lowering taxes without increasing the deficit — many Republicans aren't sure they support such an approach, according to The Wall Street Journal.


Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania told The Journal, "Revenue neutrality shouldn’t necessarily be a constraint. The primary goal should be maximizing growth and thereby increasing the income for Pennsylvania families."

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott took a similar position. "There’s no question in my mind that the growth in the economy will wipe away all fears and concerns. But I’m not sure we have 51 votes for that approach," he told The Journal.

Scott's reference to "the growth in the economy" refers to the concept of dynamic scoring, namely, that the economic growth presumably stimulated by tax cuts will also generate enough tax revenue to at least partially offset any potential deficit caused by the initial tax cuts. The Republican tax plan incorporates dynamic scoring into how it calculates its ultimate budgetary impact.


Although President Donald Trump has vowed to make sure his $1 trillion infrastructure plan is paid for in a way that is revenue neutral, he has not committed himself to the same approach when it comes to tax reform. Prominent congressional Republicans who have committed to revenue neutral tax reform include Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Rob Portman of Ohio and Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

MORE FROM Matthew Rozsa

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Mitch Mcconnell Pat Toomey Paul Ryan Rep. Carlos Curbelo Revenue Neutral