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Curbelo is ready for a tax fight



Carlos Curbelo, Miami's lone representative on the House tax writing committee, is ready to debate a bill that would revamp the nation's tax code for the first time since the 1980s as special interest groups like the real estate industry voice opposition to the proposal.

"I'm not worried about them, I expected this," Curbelo, a Republican, said. "Every special interest group out there thinks the code is for them and the truth is the tax code, the tax system, is for the American people. What we're trying to do is simplify it, eliminate a lot of the special benefits to benefit more people across the board." 

A markup of the bill, dubbed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is scheduled for Monday. 

"Most people are pretty pleased with the bill," Curbelo said, adding that there could be a Republican amendment during Monday's markup. "There are many opportunities to improve the bill, but most people are generally very satisfied with the bill."
Originally, Curbelo was in favor of a revenue-neutral tax plan that would not increase the federal deficit, though a revenue-neutral plan was not likely after House Speaker Paul Ryan and tax committee chairman Kevin Brady pulled a proposed border adjustment tax when idea faced opposition from trade groups and the White House.
"I always wanted to have revenue-neutral tax reform, in that sense I wish we could have done better, but politics is the art of the possible and this is where we are and we have to make the best of it," Curbelo said. 
Curbelo was also supportive of increasing the child tax credit to $1,600 from the current $1,000, though some Senate Republicans like Marco Rubio have suggested a $1,600 credit isn't enough to help working families. 
"That family credit is defacto permanent, you can take that to the bank," Curbelo said. "I know members on both sides will be supportive of continuing that." 
Democrats are expected to oppose the tax overhaul effort, though Republicans can pass the bill in the House and Senate with a simple majority due to budget rules that were enacted last week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only afford two Republican defections in the Senate or else the tax plan will fail much like an effort to repeal Obamacare did earlier this year. 
Curbelo's 2018 opponent, Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, criticized his support for the tax plan in a statement. 
“We can all agree the tax code should be simpler but Curbelo’s tax plan is a giveaway to big corporations and the richest among us at the expense of Florida families," Mucarsel-Powell said.