Following what he called false reports over the weekend about his involvement in the tax reform legislation, Senator Bob Corker wrote to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Sunday seeking information about where the provision in question originated. The senator is not a member of the tax-writing committee and had no involvement in crafting the legislation, his office said. He requested no specific tax provisions throughout the months-long debate and had no knowledge of the pass-through provision in question, it was stated.
Here is the letter:
Dear Chairman Hatch:
I appreciate the fact that on Thursday, as the conferees were concluding their work and before the weekend began when Senate staffs and members were going through the tax bill in detail, that I was provided with a briefing on key provisions in the reconciled conference bill that were different than those of the Senate bill.
Yesterday afternoon, I received a call from a reporter asking about what he alleged to be a new provision in the legislation.
The suggestion was that it was airdropped into the conference without prior consideration by either the House or the Senate. Since this issue has never been discussed with us by committee or Senate leadership, I went back through the bill in detail today.
Beginning on page 25, line 3, there is a policy related to pass-through businesses and what is known as the alternative limitation on the deduction amount. My understanding from talking to leadership staff today is that a version of this provision was always in the House bill—from the Ways & Means markup, through House floor consideration—and in reconciling the divergent House and Senate approaches to pass-through businesses this House approach stayed in the final conferenced version.
Because this issue has raised concerns, I would ask that that you provide an explanation of the evolution of this provision and how it made it into the final conference report. I think that because of many sensitivities, clarity on this issue is very important and hope that you will respond in an expeditious manner.
Thanks very much for your attention in this matter.
Chairman Kevin Brady
Leader Mitch McConnell