President Trump Demands Tax Reform by Christmas
During a meeting today, President Donald Trump indicated his goal is to sign a tax reform bill before Christmas, a statement that increases the pressure on Congressional Republicans who have thus far found difficulty agreeing on what specific shape various aspects of a tax overhaul proposal should take.
“I want the House to pass a bill by Thanksgiving. I want all the people standing by my side when we sign by Christmas, hopefully before Christmas,” Trump said, predicting the future signing ceremony would “be the biggest tax event in the history of our country.”
Currently, House Republicans plan to markup their version of a tax reform proposal on November 6th, while the Senate timeline is less clear, though The Hill claims a goal of completing work on the “legislation by Thanksgiving.”
Success on tax reform would be considered a major victory for the Trump administration, particularly following the high-profile failure of attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare. However, The Hill also notes “a series of challenges to that plan, from worries about how tax reform might increase the deficit to battles over specific tax provisions, including possible changes to the tax status of 401(k) plans and the deduction of state and local taxes.”
Recent reports from Capitol Hill seem to support the sense that many congressional Republicans feel uncertain about their ultimate strategy, as evidenced by one exchange in a recent Bloomberg piece:
"We don't know the brackets," Representative Chris Collins of New York, a Trump ally, told reporters after a Republican conference meeting Tuesday. "We don't know where we are on estate taxes. We don't know where we are on" the state and local tax deduction - a contentious issue for members like Collins from high-tax states. "We don't know where we are on the size of the child tax credit," he continued. "We don't know, we don't know, we don't know, we don't know, we don't know."
Similarly, when asked what tax reform issues were still outstanding, Arizona Republican Rep. David Schweikert, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, responded, “All of them.”
For his part, House Speaker Paul Ryan has continued to cheerlead the effort, claiming Congressional Republicans have “been working on this all year.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had a similarly optimistic message, downplaying disagreements he deemed “a lot of noise out there,” while promising, “if there’s anything that unifies Republicans, it’s tax reform.”
Posted in From the Hill