Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) had just gotten off the phone with House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) and neither was optimistic about serious pro-growth tax cuts this year. "They're going to screw it up in the Senate and we're going to try to fix it in conference," Rep. Ryan told WORLD. "I'm very worried that Congress is going to pass a bad, small tax cut that won't grow the economy." Mr. Ryan would rather fight than let that happen, and he isn't alone. As co-chairman of the House Prosperity Caucus with Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), he says at least 40-50 other House members are ready to resist any effort to pass a tax cut of less than $550 billion out of a 10-year budget of $28 trillion.
The biggest obstacles remain Senate Republican moderates like Ohio's George Voinovich and Maine's Olympia Snowe. But House tax-cutters may try to break Senate resistance by continuing to bombard senators with tax-relief bills until they relent. Another strategy is simply to give up on intransigent Republicans and focus on moderate Democrats like Nebraska's Ben Nelson, Indiana's Evan Bayh, and Arkansas' Blanche Lincoln.