What happens when one congressional party refuses to legislate normally, within the established rules and processes? A mess. That's what the new tax law is, and it is entirely attributable to the fact that Republican leaders, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, decided they would do the bill without any Democratic input and furthermore without hearings, without committee meetings, without a actual bill writing and revising process, and without real amendments. They ended up with a law full of serious glitches.
One inadvertently denies restaurants, retailers and others generous new write-offs for things like remodeling.
Another would allow wealthy money managers to sidestep a crackdown on lucrative tax breaks that allows them to pay lower taxes on some of their income than ordinary wage earners. A third creates two different start dates for new rules that make it harder for businesses to shave their tax bills.
There are dozens of other snafus, hitting everything from real estate investments to multinational corporations to farmers. […]
"This is not normal," said Marty Sullivan, chief economist at the nonpartisan Tax Analysts. "There's always this kind of stuff, but the order of magnitude is entirely different."
These aren't just the typical typos you see in major legislation, and many aren't things that can simply be fixed with technical corrective legislation. Some of it requires actual rewrites, and this time, Republicans need Democrats to do that. Republican Sen. John Thune (SD) wants to make these fixes in the next big must-pass spending bill in March, the one to avoid the next possible government shutdown. But Democrats aren't anxious to help out, remembering the refusal of Republicans to allow any technical fixes to the Affordable Care Act, the last massive piece of legislation to get through Congress.
If Republicans want to make fixes, Democrats say, they're going to have to open the new law up to major reworking. "We’re not going to say to Republicans, 'Oh tell us what you want to do," said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Finance Committee member. "We want to make the bill better, not just correct whatever technical fix is needed." As for House Democrats, the ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Richard Neil, says "We're not going to willy nilly into this with, all of a sudden, a technical corrections bill that has not been sufficiently aired. […] There needs to be an acknowledgment that this was done in haste and that there were many mistakes."
There's no reason at all for Democrats to help Ryan and McConnell out here, especially not without getting something in return. From the Dream Act to Obamacare fixes, there's a lot that could be trying to extract here.