WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, cast doubt Wednesday on passing a bipartisan tax bill, saying it could make President Joe Biden "look good" and improve Democrats' chances of holding the White House in the 2024 election.
Grassley said re-electing Biden could hurt Republican hopes of extending Trump-era tax cuts.
“Passing a tax bill that makes the president look good — mailing out checks before the election — means he could be re-elected, and then we won’t extend the 2017 tax cuts,” Grassley told reporter. The bill does not include checks for Americans; what it includes is a tax credit.
A 2021 child tax credit included monthly checks for qualifying parents, but they are not in the newly negotiated bill. The Republican-controlled House Ways and Means Committee said in a statement last week that under the legislation, the Biden administration would be “explicitly prohibited” from “manipulating the bill’s tax relief in an attempt to send politically timed refund checks.”
Grassley, who is on the Senate Finance Committee and previously was its chairman, added that the committee is not looking at the bill until it passes the House.
“There’s disagreement by some people on whether or not the bill upsets strategy for 2025 — extending the 2017 tax bill,” said Grassley, whose remarks came in response to questions from HuffPost and Semafor. “And all these things are questions that are unanswered. And until something is through the House, I don’t think we’re going to pay too much attention to it.”
Asked about his comments, a Grassley spokesperson said in an email: “As Senator Grassley noted in his response to questions today, the bill has not yet even passed the House, and Senate Finance Committee members have therefore not yet had a chance to consider it. Regarding any questions related to the provisions and merits of the bill, Grassley noted ‘all these things are questions that are unanswered’ until the bill gets through the House."
The spokesperson added that Grassley "looks forward to providing input" when a Finance Committee markup is scheduled.
The White House and the Biden campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Grassley made the comments ahead of an expected House vote to pass the bill. Congressional leaders this month announced a major tax deal, which, if passed, would expand the child tax credit and provide certain tax breaks for businesses.
The $78 billion package would lift the child tax credit's $1,600 refundable cap and adjust for inflation while enhancing refundable child tax credits. It would also restore some tax cut policies passed during the Trump administration that have expired.
The bipartisan deal was forged between House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith, R-Mo., and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who lead the respective tax-writing panels.