GOP Strategist: Tax Reform Won’t Pass

Steve Schmidt

Steve Schmidt

Congress isn’t going to approve the tax reform bill introduced in the House this week, Republican campaign strategist Steve Schmidt predicted during a federal legislative and political forum at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo on Saturday.

Only the country’s largest corporations—which already pay well below the statutory corporate tax rate of 35 percent—have reason to support the bill, said Schmidt, who was a top advisor to President George W. Bush during his administration. “This is a massive corporate tax cut for the biggest companies in the world,” he said. “It’s not a tax proposal that benefits small business. It adds a trillion and a half dollars to the debt, and it’s a massive tax increase if you live in a high-cost state.”

Schmidt said Republican lawmakers in the House are motivated to pass the bill only because they need a legislative victory going into the 2018 congressional elections. “There’s a panic in the House that they have zero achievements,” he said. Republicans hold a 24-seat majority in the House, but many of those districts are at risk because Hillary Clinton fared well in them during the 2016 presidential election.

Passage of the tax package would pit Republican lawmakers in high-cost states such as California, New York, and New Jersey against their voters’ interests. “It’s a massive tax increase on their constituents,” Schmidt said. “If it passes the House, it certainly won’t pass the Senate.”

NAR favors tax reform but opposes the GOP bill because it would eliminate the tax incentives for homeownership. Most homeowners would no longer find it financially advantageous to itemize, so they would see no benefit in the tax code for owning rather than renting. It would also make it harder for home sellers to exclude their sale proceeds from capital gains taxes. NAR estimates home values across the country could plummet more than 10 percent if the bill passes.

Schmidt said the tax bill is a product of lawmakers’ lack of incentive to find “commonsensical solutions” to the country’s problems. To get the country back on track, reforms are needed to the way congressional districts are drawn and to the campaign finance system, he said.

Robert Freedman

Robert Freedman is director of multimedia communications for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. He can be reached at

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  1. I was at the session, listened to Steve Schmidt and was profoundly moved by his insights and commentary. Too bad that it wasn’t at 360 or the General Session to reach more people. That being said, I object to the headline. With all of the work we are doing to mobilize our members, clients and customers against this legislation, NAR reporting that it won’t pass anyway just greased that slide. The fact of the matter is that we have a better mobilization tool than Banks in Real Estate issue to get the members involved across the nation and party lines. We need to be able to use it as the catalyst for the struggles that are sure to follow through the next election cycle. I am going to use some of Schimdts comments – but not that headline.

  2. bobloblaw

    NAR is nothing but a bunch of special interests. They dont want the personal deduction increased because they want people to itemize and thus go out and buy a house. Disgusting selfish behavior.

  3. bobloblaw

    Steve Schmidt is a strategist who has never won an election