The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act is Headed to Conference Committee

If you’ve followed the tax reform process these last few months, you likely know that the House and Senate have both passed the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. So naturally, the next step would be the President’s desk, right?

Not quite.

The legislative process is a bit more complex than what Schoolhouse Rock taught us growing up. Maybe you know this, maybe you missed it, but the House and Senate passed two different bills on tax reform. They each preserve different deductions, they have a cost difference, and they even have different proposed brackets. For a bill to become law, both chambers must pass identical legislation.

So what’s next?

Since you can’t present two conflicting bills for the President to sign, the House and Senate must first reconcile the two bills in something called a conference committee. This is a committee of members appointed by the House and Senate to resolve the differences between the two tax bills.

In the coming days, this group of members who serve on the tax writing committees will produce a final bill that both chambers must once again approve.

The truth is, this can be an incredibly cumbersome process. But we’re not taking shortcuts on this historic tax reform. We’ve promised to keep you in the loop as we move through this process, and we will continue to do so in the days to come.

For conference committee to end, the majority of both the House and Senate delegations must sign what is known as a conference report. This is essentially the final version of the tax reform bill.

Once the final legislative package is put together in conference, it goes directly to the floor of the House and Senate for a vote, where both chambers must pass the bill as-is.  

Only once those votes are complete, will the final version of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act go to the President’s desk.

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