Rep. Hakeem Jeffries doesn’t expect Congress to get much done this year.
Jeffries explained why he doesn’t expect much from Congress during a roundtable with local reporters at his district office in Brooklyn Thursday. The New York Democrat predicted there won’t be any “significant legislative matters tackled” in Congress until after the midterm elections in November.
Jeffries gave his grim prognosis after Business Insider asked whether he supports killing the “Carried Interest” tax loophole, which allows certain hedge fund and private equity profits to be taxed at a lower rate. Both President Barack Obama and Republican Rep. Dave Camp, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, made budget proposals that included eliminating the loophole earlier this year. However, in spite of this bipartisan support, the financial industry seemed confident any plan to eliminate Carried Interest would not come to fruition.
Jeffries said he believes eliminating Carried Interest is “one of the most reasonable proposals that should be put on the table and seriously evaluated,” However, he also said powerful corporate interests will fight Carried Interest and any other “serious” tax reform “ferociously” and would be particularly successful since this is a midterm election year.
“There are a lot of entrenched interests in Washington D.C. and a lot of people with significant economic power who will be impacted by changes to the tax code such as the Carried Interest adjustment that are going to weigh in ferociously to prevent some things from happening, particularly in an election year,” said Jeffries.
And tax reform isn’t the only initiative Jeffries doesn’t expect Congress to work on until after the November elections.
Jeffries went on to say immigration reform is the only “significant” issue with any chance of being addressed in Washington before the end of the year. He attributed this to both the House Republican majority and the Senate Democrats being more concerned about their respective positioning than consequential legislation.
“No one thinks at this moment that anything major will occur prior to November, because I think the House majority wants to protect its situation. And many have actually said that they don’t expect significant things to occur this year,” explained Jeffries. “The Senate is also in a precarious situation and I think they will proceed responsibly, but also with caution. And so, it’s likely that we’re not going to see any significant legislative matters tackled, perhaps short of comprehensive immigration reform, which is still somewhat a possibility, until after the November midterms.”
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