Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) introduced comprehensive legislation Tuesday that would make the lowered individual tax rates included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act permanent.
Cruz introduced the bill to coincide with the deadline for individuals to file their income tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service for the previous year, according to a press release from his office.
The senator, who is running for reelection this year, declared that individuals in Texas and all across the nation were reaping the benefits of tax reform. Cruz also applauded the revived sense of economic confidence that has been evident since the lowered rates were implemented.
"We’re seeing enormous benefits as a result of the historic tax cuts passed last year," Cruz said. "The Texas economy is booming, and even on Tax Day, there is a renewed optimism and energy throughout the state."
The tax reform package, championed by President Donald Trump, slashed personal income tax rates across the board, doubled the standard deduction, and cut the corporate tax rate to 21 percent. In order to pass the bill through the Senate without Democratic support, however, GOP lawmakers had to ensure the bill abided by Senate rules and would not add to the federal deficit outside of 10 years. The individual tax cuts were, as a result, scheduled to expire in 2025 with the intention that Congress would vote to extend the cuts before their expiration.
The economic consequences of the cuts were immediately noticeable as consumer confidence soared, reaching levels in February that were unseen since 2000. The saving generated by tax reform also allowed 507 companies, to date, to offer their employees a total of nearly $4 million in bonuses and raised wages, according to Americans for Tax Reform. The nation's unemployment rate has remained stable at 4.1 percent, a 17-year low.
Cruz's legislation would ensure that economic benefits witnessed by families in Texas and the rest of the country last.
"Texans are investing capital, expanding businesses, hiring new workers, and raising wages, and that economic growth is benefiting middle-class families across the Lone Star State," Cruz said. "But on tax reform, Congress is just getting started."
Cruz declared that Congress still had a great of work to do before the tax and regulatory burdens hampering hardworking Americans from prospering were lifted, but that his legislation was an important start.
"There is much more we can do on behalf hardworking Americans, starting with passing my bill to make the individual tax cuts and other provisions permanent," he said.
Cruz also used the announcement to challenge ideological sparring partner Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) to make good on a statement the latter made during a CNN interview with Jake Tapper in December. During the interview, Sanders expressed his support for making middle-class tax cuts permanent.
"100 days ago I invited @SenSanders to join me in voting to make tax rate cuts for hardworking middle-class families permanent. This #TaxDay, I renew this call to action and ask my colleagues to join my bill to make these tax cuts permanent," Cruz tweeted.
100 days ago I invited @SenSanders to join me in voting to make tax rate cuts for hardworking middle-class families permanent. This #TaxDay, I renew this call to action and ask my colleagues to join my bill to make these tax cuts permanent. #NoBrakesOnTaxBreaks pic.twitter.com/mSSNn8gUDS
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) April 17, 2018