The tax law that took effect January 1, the most sweeping rewrite of the USA tax code in three decades, is estimated to add around $1.5 trillion to the ballooning deficit over 10 years.
America First Action, a political committee aligned with Trump, conducted a series of focus groups over the summer and concluded the party had a severe voter-turnout problem, brought on in part by contentment about the economy and a refusal by Republicans to believe that Democrats could actually win the midterm elections. "Republicans gave Congress nearly a full decade to extend these individual tax cuts before they expire", notes The Washington Post's Jeff Stein, "but the law's mediocre polling numbers and the hard election outlook for House Republicans have increased their sense of urgency".
Just 38% of registered voters said they would vote for Republican House candidates, while 52% said they'd vote for Democrats.
Recent reports have suggested independents could make up as much as 30% of the electorate in this year's midterms, meaning they could make or break the GOP's majority in Congress.
Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
FILE PHOTO: Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) holds up a sample tax form as he speaks during a media briefing after the House Republican conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 17, 2018.More news: Presidential emergency alert system text coming next week
The new legislation would add another $576 billion to the deficit, even taking potentially higher economic growth into account, the Tax Foundation said.
"Passage is not automatic", he added. And even some House Republicans oppose a new tax bill. Six percent said they remain undecided, while 7 percent said they would not vote for either candidate from the two major parties.
Still, some Republicans from Democratic-leaning states worry that constituents already dislike December's cap on the federal deduction for state and local tax payments, known as SALT.
The Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act of 2018 (H.R. 6760), which would lock in the lower individual rates, larger child tax credit and larger standard deduction from last year's tax law.
But prospects for the legislation in the Senate are weak, given the slim Republican majority and concern over the potential for further blowing up the deficit with a new tax cut - without corresponding new revenue sources. All but one were from high-tax Democratic states such as New York, New Jersey and California. This has put Republican lawmakers in high-tax states like New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois and Minnesota in a hard position because they would either support a provision that would put their states in a vulnerable place or oppose a bill that is backed by their own party.