Speed Reads

death and taxes and more taxes

Tax cuts in 2017? It's a long shot.

President Trump's promised tax cuts are facing a race against time, and the calendar is apparently winning. Tax reform legislation is "very, very unlikely" to pass in 2017, Steve Bell, a former director for Senate Republicans on the Budget Committee, told Bloomberg Politics.

"I just don't think they have enough time," Bell said.

While it is still only May, the Hill has a crowded calendar ahead as the Senate dives into debating health-care legislation and lawmakers face impending deadlines to fund the government and raise the debt limit this fall. Adding to the constraints: As of Monday, there are just 39 legislative days on the House calendar before a five-week long August recess.

"I imagine they will do something on taxes [this year]," said William Gale, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "I don't think it'll be reform; I think it'll be tax cuts … Tax reform requires increasing taxes on some people, and I don't see them having the fortitude to impose tax increases on anybody."

But in April, economist Alec Phillips noted to Financial Times that "the timing does appear to be slipping once again" on tax reform. "At this point, we expect that enactment is more likely in [first quarter] 2018 than [fourth quarter] 2017," he said.