House Republicans mull future of tax cuts, IRA credits

By Kelsey Brugger | 06/05/2024 06:27 AM EDT

The Ways and Means Committee is launching teams on tax policy. The Inflation Reduction Act is a prime target.

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.)

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) is leading a team focused on extending the 2017 tax cut law. Alex Brandon/AP

House Republicans hoping to extend the 2017 tax cuts are beginning to systematically examine tax provisions in the Democrats’ landmark climate law.

Whether those climate provisions will land on the chopping block remains to be seen.

On Wednesday, a Ways and Means Committee “tax team” focused on manufacturing and energy will meet for the first time with the aim of dissecting the expiring Trump tax cuts.


The congressional effort comes as some oil interests and business advocates have said they plan to rally behind considerable parts of the Inflation Reduction Act, the landmark 2022 law that showered hundreds of billions of dollars on renewable energy. On Tuesday, the CEO of oil giant Shell praised the IRA as a job creator.

The manufacturing tax team, one of 10 teams in all, is being led by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), a car dealer who has blanched at President Joe Biden’s climate and energy efforts.

“The goal for me is how do we help our manufacturers do more of the work here and [create] more jobs here?” he told POLITICO’s E&E News on Tuesday. “And what incentives do they need to take them where we can make it somewhat efficient, so it doesn’t cost too much money?”

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which expires at the end of next year, is almost certain to spur extended debate on Capitol Hill involving corporate taxes, federal subsidies and the mounting deficit.

Moreover, many of the renewable energy tax credit provisions in the IRA are considered low-hanging fruit by Republicans to try to claw back as offsets for any tax cut extension.

‘We want more jobs’

Should he win reelection, President Joe Biden has said he intends to rewrite parts of the tax law, save some individual cuts for households earning less than $400,000 a year. Republicans want to extend it.

“Donald Trump was very proud of his $2 trillion tax cut that overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy and biggest corporations and exploded the federal debt,” Biden wrote on X in April. “That tax cut is going to expire. If I’m reelected, it’s going to stay expired.”

The GOP manufacturing team also includes Reps. Greg Murphy of North Carolina and Jody Arrington of Texas, along with New York Reps. Claudia Tenney and Nicole Malliotakis.

The other tax teams will focus on working families, the workforce, the new economy, Main Street, rural America, community development, supply chains, innovation and global competitiveness, according to the committee.

The purpose of the teams is to “turn the page on the disastrous Biden economy and strengthen our workforce, help our families, and restore the American dream,” according to a May press release from the House committee. And to defend the Trump tax cuts that “resulted in the strongest economy in American history.”

But exactly how the teams will address the Inflation Reduction Act — which included corporate tax hikes as well as hundreds of billions of dollars in incentives benefiting major manufacturers — remains to be seen.

“We have to get into all that and see what happens,” Buchanan said, echoing similar remarks about the current Republican effort to scrutinize the climate law.

He said he’s preparing a proposal as though Trump reclaims the White House — so “when we hit next year, we can get off the ground and run,” he added.

But if not, he continued, “I’m pretty bipartisan. I’d find ways to try to work together for our businesses and jobs.”

He added he plans to hear from various stakeholders to “take the best of what they have to offer and pick up any additional ideas and try to work through those to try to make sure they make sense.”

One example, he said, is the team takes a trip to Detroit to talk to “all the auto manufacturers talk about where we’re at, what we can do to help them.”

“We want more things produced here,” he said. “We want more jobs here — and good-paying jobs.”

Big business seeks to protect IRA

Amid the talk on tax cuts, lawmakers are now hearing more from industry and clean energy businesses. They are pressing their case to save the IRA.

On Tuesday, more than 300 clean energy business leaders sent a letter to congressional leaders urging the parties to unite to defend the Biden climate law, which has already started creating projects and jobs.

“Repealing the clean energy provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act would be nothing short of an economic and national security disaster,” they wrote.

They added, “It would pull the rug out from growing American businesses and the countless workers that have already been hired. It would leave factories half-built, with construction workers laid off mid-project, and orders from surrounding businesses unfulfilled.”