Bloomberg Tax Reporter Laura Davison and the Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis discuss the House Republican tax reform bill released yesterday and its potential impact on taxpayers.
On November 2, 2017, House Republicans unveiled their tax reform plan, entitled the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” Among other provisions, the bill would change the number of tax brackets, reduce the corporate tax rate, and change the system of deductions and exemptions. On December 20, 2017 the House of Representatives and Senate passed the bill. Passage of this bill marks the largest overhaul to the tax system in the United States since 1986. In this lesson, students will learn about the details of the tax reform plan, the stances of politicians on both sides, and determine whether or not they agree with the plan.
As a class, view the following video clip and then discuss the questions below.
Video Clip: House Republican Tax Reform Bill (6:15)
Describe the main changes for individuals that would occur under the Republican tax reform plan.
Describe the main changes for corporations and businesses that would occur under the Republican tax reform plan.
Break students into groups and have each group view the following video clips. Students should take notes using the handout provided, and then share their findings with the rest of the class.
HANDOUT: Tax Reform Plan Handout (Google Doc)
FOR THE TAX REFORM PLAN
Video Clip: Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) on Tax Reform Plan (3:44)
House Ways and Means Committee discussed the tax reform plan as the committe began its markup of the Republican plan.
Video Clip: President Trump on Tax Reform Bill (3:52)
President Trump met with House Republicans and discussed their proposed tax reform bill.
Video Clip: Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Tax Reform (1:47)
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) discusses tax reform and the potential benefits of the bill.
Video Clip: Secretary Mnuchin on Tax Reform Plan (2:59)
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin discussed the details of the House Republican tax reform plan.
Video Clip: Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) on the Senate Tax Bill (4:14)
On November 30, 2017, Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) discussed his support for the tax bill that was being debated in the Senate later in the day.
AGAINST THE TAX REFORM PLAN
Video Clip: Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) on Tax Reform Plan (2:56)
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) discussed the House Republicans' tax reform proposal and said the proposal offered too many tax breaks to corporations and rich individuals at the expense of low- and middle-income taxpayers.
Video Clip: Representative Richard Neal (D-MA) on Tax Reform (2:52)
Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) discussed the House Republican tax reform plan and argued the bill should be bipartisan and urged Republicans to follow regular order by holding hearings on the plan.
Video Clip: Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Tax Reform (1:03)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), appearing on CNN"s “State of the Union,” talked about the Republican tax reform bill.
Video Clip: Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) on Tax Reform Plan (1:12)
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) discussed the unveiling of a Republican tax overhaul and the reasons for his opposition to the bill.
Video Clip: Video Clip: Sen. Peters (D-MI) on the Senate Tax Bill (3:40)
On November 30, 2017, Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) talked about the latest developments on the Senate Republican tax bill.
After watching the videos and reporting out to the class, have students create a list of tax reforms, if any, they think should be enacted in the United States. They should be sure to justify the changes to the tax system or reasons for not changing anything with specific citations from the videos and class discussion.
Then, split students into small groups in which each student discusses their ideas and justifications.
Finally, participate in a whole class discussion in which at least one member of each small group shares their group's findings.
EXTENSION AND CULMINATING ACTIVITIES
WRITE YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Have students further research the issue and write a letter to their member of Congress explaining their opinion on the tax reform bill and any changes they would support in the tax system.
SIMULATED CONGRESSIONAL HEARING
Have students participate in a simulated hearing in which some students are members of a committee considering the tax reform bill, and others are experts on both sides of the issue.
UPDATED RESOURCES ON THE LEGISLATION
Video Clip: The Differences between the Senate and the House Tax Reform Bills (5:10)- November 10, 2017
Washington Examiner Correspondent Susan Ferrechio provided an overview of the differences between the two bills.
Video Clip: U.S. House Approves Tax Reform Bill, 227-205 (2:45)- November 16, 2017
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan discussed the GOP tax reform bill shortly before the U.S. House approved the measure 227-205.
Video Clip: Senate Begins Debate on Tax Bill (3:10)- November 30, 2017
C-SPAN's John McArdle discussed the process for passing the bill and the current whip list.
Video Clip: The Tax Bill Goes to Conference Committee (3:05)- December 4, 2017
Reporters Ken Thomas and Mike Lillis talked about the House tax bill that was passed in the Senate over the weekend. The bill is scheduled to go to conference committee this week to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions.
Video Clip: Preview of the Tax Reform Bill Vote (2:15)- December 18, 2017
Washington Examiner White House reporter Sarah Westwood and Bloomberg Congressional reporter Anna Edgerton discuss the upcoming votes on the tax bill votes that will take place in the Senate and the House this week.
Video Clip: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Passes in the House (2:26)- December 19, 2017
With a vote of 51-48, the Senate passed the tax reform bill. Because of the Senate rules relating to the use of reconciliation in passing the bill, an amended version goes back to the House. C-SPAN's John McArdle explains the events and the rules relating to the passage of the bill.
President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers celebrated the passage of the tax reform bill in both the House and the Senate on the South Lawn of the White House.