Shimkus selected for conference committee on GOP tax-reform bill

Shimkus selected for conference committee on GOP tax-reform bill

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. John Shimkus could have a major role in the development of the Republican Congress' tax-cut legislation.

The veteran Republican lawmaker from Collinsville — whose district includes Danville, Rantoul, Charleston-Mattoon and parts of eastern and southeastern Illinois — is one of nine House Republicans appointed by Speaker Paul Ryan to negotiate details of the tax overhaul in a conference committee.

The majority of the House Republicans on the bill's conference committee are members of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, including U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton.

But two other members, including Shimkus, are from the Energy and Commerce Committee, and two are from the Natural Resources Committee.

"There are a few provisions, specifically in the Senate version, including one that sells oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and that touches Energy and Commerce jurisdiction," said Jordan Haverly, a spokesman for Shimkus.

"So that's why Chairman (Greg) Walden and Congressman Shimkus are on the conference committee."

The Senate version also allows for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Shimkus was a strong supporter of the House tax plan that passed Nov. 16, asserting that it would provide tax relief for most people in his largely rural district.

"More than 80 percent of my constituents take the standard deduction instead of itemizing on their tax returns," Shimkus said. "We're nearly doubling that standard deduction, which means the first $12,000 earned by individuals, and the first $24,0000 earned by married couples, would be protected form federal income taxes under the bill."

But the Democratic Governors Association, in a statement Tuesday, urged Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to fight the tax plan, claiming it would be more helpful to the wealthy.

"Illinois taxpayers need a fighter, but Bruce Rauner won't answer the call," said the DGA's Sam Salustro. "Many Illinois middle-class households will see their taxes rise to pay for cuts for the wealthy, and Bruce Rauner has cheered Congress on.

"Time and again, Rauner has failed the people of Illinois and refused to protect them from President Trump's policies, including this middle-class tax hike."

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