While a vote on the Senate’s newly released health care bill has been delayed due to Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) unexpected absence, the White House continues to work behind the scenes with Congress on a tax reform overhaul—something Americans should expect to see by Christmas, according to one senator.
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Even though the GOP’s struggle to coalesce around a singular plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has some worried about the window for other items on President Donald Trump’s agenda, tax cuts will be done “before Christmas,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) during an interview with FOX Business Monday. Grassley said the bill should ideally be complete by Thanksgiving in order for the IRS to have enough time to get its affairs in order.
White House officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Director Gary Cohn, have said they have been meeting weekly, if not daily, with lawmakers on taxes. Grassley acknowledged the importance of having the administration involved in the tax reform push.
“Having presidential leadership is absolutely essential and I can vouch … for the president and his cabinet being involved with it, because I’ve been involved in several meetings where … Secretary Mnuchin and the economic advisor [Gary Cohn] was there as well,” Grassley said.
While the administration rolled out its broad vision for the tax code transformation in April, they are now working on putting together a format that the White House, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee can all agree on – even if the specific details are decided upon at a later date, according to Grassley.
However, time is of the essence for the president and his administration. In order to push both health care and tax reform through using the reconciliation process, health care needs to be done before the new budget is passed – presumably before the onset of the 2018 fiscal year in October. Next year’s budget will need to include instructions for tax reform reconciliation, at which time Congress will lose its mandate to pass health care using the fast-track process.
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The vote on House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) revised health care bill, which was expected this week, was delayed after Sen. McCain underwent surgery for a blood clot. Sources told Fox News Monday he will be out for at least a week, until he is cleared to fly back to D.C.
However, even before the delay, the health care bill was breathing on life support after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced last week they would both reject the new proposal. Paul objects to the stabilization funds for the insurance markets, calling it “crony capitalism” during an interview with FOX Business, while Collins remains unsatisfied with the proposed changes to Medicaid.