White House looks beyond conservatives on tax reform – to Democrats

© Reuters. President Donald Trump leaves after dinner

By Lindsay Dunsmuir and Doina Chiacu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Fresh off a defeat in U.S. health care legislation, the White House has warned unruly conservative lawmakers that they should back President Donald Trump’s agenda or it could sidestep them in future legislative struggles, including reform. fiscal.

The threat from White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to build a broad coalition on tax reform that could include moderate Democrats came as the Republican head of the House tax drafting committee said he expected pass a tax bill through your panel. this spring.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady said his committee had been working on tax reform in parallel with the failed push for health care reform.

“We have never stopped working,” Brady told Fox News on “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.” “We will continue to make improvements.”

Brady said the committee planned to move forward with the bill in the spring. He said he wanted the House blueprint to be the foundation of Trump’s tax reform plan rather than having opposing versions from the Treasury and the White House.

Investors on Wall Street worry that the defeat of the healthcare bill bodes ill for tax reform. Stocks have rebounded since Trump’s election in part on expectations of tax cuts. Economic growth would be more modest without the fiscal stimulus, and US stock index futures fell to a six-week low on Sunday.

Both Trump and Priebus have chastised hardline conservatives who rejected White House-backed legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act of 2010, known as Obamacare.

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Priebus offered the chance to work with moderate Democrats and Republicans to pass other aspects of Trump’s agenda, such as his budget proposal, the renewal of the tax code, and a renewed effort at reforming the tax system. Health.

“If we can introduce a bill that achieves the president’s goals with only Republicans, we will accept it and move on,” Priebus said.

But he added: “I think it’s more or less a warning that we are willing to talk to anyone. We have always been and I think now more than ever.”

In an embarrassment to Trump, who had campaigned for the White House on what he said were his negotiating skills, the healthcare bill was pulled from the floor of the House of Representatives on Friday because it failed to garner enough support within the House. Trump’s Republican Party. Match.

Objections from members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and moderate Republicans left leaders without the necessary votes for approval, with Democrats united in opposition.

Trump failed to win over lawmakers from the Freedom Caucus despite intensely courting them. Outside conservative groups like the Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America, which are closely aligned with the Freedom Caucus, had strongly opposed the Republican health bill and urged lawmakers to reject it.

In a tweet Sunday morning, Trump lashed out at the Freedom Caucus and conservative groups, saying their actions had left “the Democrats smiling in DC.”

Priebus said it was a “real shame” that conservative lawmakers decided not to endorse the healthcare bill.

“And I think the president is disappointed by how many people he thought were loyal to him and who were not,” he said.


Trump has put tax reform at the top of his legislative agenda now that the healthcare bill has failed.

Priebus said Trump was not backing down in his view that the tax reform bill needed a border tax. He also said the measure would include a tax cut for the middle class that he said could help attract votes from moderate Democrats.

In a sign that not everyone in the Freedom Caucus was in line with his approach and a positive sign for Trump as he looked toward tax reform, U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, a Republican from Texas, said he had resigned from the group.

“To fulfill the conservative agenda that we have promised the American people for eight years, we must come together to find solutions that move this country forward,” Poe said in a brief statement. “Saying it is not easy, leading is difficult.”

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer criticized Trump for his handling of the healthcare bill, saying Republicans would face roadblocks from conservatives on other issues.

“They’re going to repeat the same mistake they made at Trumpcare with tax reform,” Schumer told ABC’s “This Week.”

He urged Trump to take a different path: reject the Freedom Caucus and work with Democrats.

“If he changes, he could have a different presidency,” Schumer said. “You will have to tell them that you cannot work with them and we will certainly see their proposals. But it will be based on our values.”

Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, said Sunday that he was optimistic about tax reform and that his group could support a plan that is not income neutral.

“So tax reform and tax cuts, you know, will create and generate more revenue,” he said. “And so we’re looking at those, where the fine balance is. But does it have to be fully offset? My personal answer is ‘no.’

Another Freedom Caucus congressman, Jim Jordan, rejected the allegations over the collapse of the healthcare bill.

“Instead of playing the blame game, let’s get to work,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”