Monday | November 20, 2017
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Trump urges House GOP to move quickly on budget, tax cuts

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump warned House Republicans on Sunday that 2018 would be a political failure for the GOP and disappointment for the nation if they fail on tax overhaul.

A GOP aide familiar with the conversation said Trump told the lawmakers again and again that the party would have a steep price to pay in next year’s midterm elections if they failed to pass his plan. It would slash the corporate tax rate to 20 percent and double the standard deduction used by most average Americans.

The president also said that, beyond the looming elections, his plan was the right thing to do for the country, the person said.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both joined the House GOP conference call in which Trump called on members to adopt the budget passed by the Senate this week, so that they can move on to passing his tax reform plan

Trump told the members they were on the verge of doing something historic by passing the tax cuts, according to one Republican official. That official, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss publicly what was intended as a private update for members.

The Senate last week passed a budget that includes rules that will allow Republicans to get tax legislation through the Senate without Democratic votes and without fear of a Democratic filibuster. The House had passed a different budget, but House Republicans signaled Friday they would simply accept the Senate plan to avoid any potential delay on the tax measure.

Republicans are desperate to rack up a legislative win after a series of embarrassing failures that have come despite the fact that the party controls both chambers of Congress and the White House. At the top of the list: their stalled attempts to pass legislation repealing and replacing “Obamacare.” If tax reform doesn’t pass, many in the party fear an all-out revolt in 2018.

On the call, House Speaker Paul Ryan told members he hoped to pass a revised Senate budget bill this week to increase the chances that tax reform can be enacted by the end of the year.

Trump, who spent much of the weekend at his golf course in Virginia, will also work to rally support for the plan on the Hill Tuesday at a lunch with Senate Republicans.

But as the focus turns to taxes, Congress continues to struggle with health care legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he’d be willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor — if Trump makes clear he supports it. A proposal by two senators — Republican Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democrat Patty Murray of Washington — would extend for two years federal insurance payments that Trump has blocked, in an effort to stabilize insurance markets. But Trump has offered mixed signals, alternately praising and condemning the effort — confusing Democrats and Republicans alike.

 

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