Roskam: New tax code will help families 'lost in the shuffle'

As chairman of the tax subcommittee on the influential House Ways and Means Committee, Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton has a role in the GOP's attempt to revamp the nation's tax code.

Roskam spoke to the Daily Herald Thursday about how the nearly $6 trillion tax cut that Republicans say would provide major tax cuts for businesses and lower taxes for families in the suburbs is taking shape, and how it might get Democratic support.

Here's an edited transcript:

Q. You were one of 17 committee members at a White House meeting on the tax plan Tuesday. What did that involve?

A. It was a bipartisan meeting with members of the Ways and Means committee. It was an invitation from the White House to actively participate in this process. Following that, House Republicans met off site, where I presented the framework of plan for individuals and families.

Q. Who does it help and who does it hurt?

A. It's designed toward middle class, middle income families. What this is designed to do along with doubling the standard deduction is to protect more dollars. It's also trying to refashion some of these programs that are helping people save for retirement, like 401ks, and making the child tax credit more attractive, and increasing the education tax credit.

Q. What is the income bracket for a so-called "middle income" family, then?

A. That's the great mystery. The brackets are details that have yet to be filled in. But another way to characterize it is people at the top end of the economic spectrum are doing fine under the status quo. They know how to have the tax code work for them. It's folks that are sort of in that middle that are lost in the shuffle.

Q. Was there anything you pushed to be included?

A. What I've driven for is a discussion to make sure it's growth orientated. And to make it as permanent as we possibly can. I also think we have a retirement crisis, and we need to incentivize people to save.

Q. Can this pass with bipartisan support?

A. To the extent people are willing to come in and evaluate this on the merits, I think they are going to find a lot of things that are attractive on both sides of the aisle.

Q. What happens next?

A. The Ways and Means committee will work to fill in these details and work through these questions about income brackets. It's realistic to expect an actual bill in October.

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