Washington, D.C. — The recent debate over the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act shined a light on serious problems with the United States’ legislative process. Passed under a special fast-track budget reconciliation process, the bill openly broke with standard procedures, which were designed to force a deliberative, inclusive, and bipartisan process on critical fiscal policy matters. The voices of experts and affected communities were ignored; members of Congress held no hearings and conducted the vast majority of the negotiations behind closed doors, and then rushed bills to the floor before their constituents could fully understand what they contained. Nonpartisan congressional scorekeepers were equally ignored, as the rushed process also left no time to adequately consider the results of analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation and Congressional Budget Office. Worse yet, when the results of such analysis were politically problematic, they were disparaged by members. Members even openly discussed the importance of passing legislation that would please their donors, rather than benefit their constituents. Finally, the legislation itself was filled with gimmicks and tricks to game the scoring process and obscure its true effects. The result: a corrupt bill that was widely disliked.
This problem is bigger than just the tax bill—it revealed deeper, long-standing issues that plague Congress. On Thursday, March 1, the Center for American Progress will host a panel to discuss the issues revealed by the passage of the tax bill, as well as ways to address the pernicious problems that undermine the effectiveness, transparency, and fairness of the legislative process.
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Jacob Leibenluft, Executive Vice President for Policy, Center for American Progress
Bruce Bartlett, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy, U.S. Department of the Treasury, 1989–1993
Lily Batchelder, Frederick I. and Grace Stokes Professor of Law, New York University Wagner School of Public Service
William Roberts, Legislative Director, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), U.S. House of Representatives
Martin A. Sullivan, Chief Economist and Contributing Editor, Tax Analysts
Alexandra Thornton, Senior Director of Tax Policy, Center for American Progress
Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. ET
1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20005
Closed-captioned-enabled video will be posted following the conclusion of the event.
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For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Allison Preiss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-478-6331.