By Dean Franks, senior vice president, congressional relations, ARTBA

The House Ways & Means Committee Sept. 13 passed three bills that would compromise the second round of tax reform by Congress since last December, when President Trump signed a major overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

The package, dubbed “Tax Reform 2.0,” like its predecessor does not include a solution to the Highway Trust Fund’s long-term revenue shortfall. Most of the provisions in the new proposal would impact the individual side of the tax code and make permanent many of last year’s changes to the code.

New reforms include a doubling from $5 million to $10 million on the estate tax deduction for individuals (twice those amounts for married couples) and the expansion of the use of college 529 savings plans to cover apprenticeship programs. (Read a summary of the tax provisions in the three bills compiled by ARTBA consultants EY.)

If passed by the House, the plan is not expected to be approved in the Senate, at least not before the November elections. While the package is largely a messaging document at this point, it could establish a foundation for a year-end tax bill if a bipartisan agreement can be reached.

ARTBA will continue to press Congress to include a Highway Trust Fund revenue enhancement in any legislation that moves in the post-election ‘lame duck’ session.