Monday Motivation for Trump on Tax Reform

“After he failed to pass an egregiously unpopular ACA replacement that would have paid for hundreds of billions in new tax cuts for the wealthiest by taking health care coverage from millions, Donald Trump is facing even more likely blockages on tax reform. He should take a hint and think very hard before embracing another plan that sells out working families just to give special breaks to fellow billionaires, ” said American Bridge spokesperson Andrew Bates.

A Senate GOP Aide Said, “The Notion That Tax Is Easier Than Health Is Not Borne Out By The Facts.” According to the Wall Street Journal, “None of those divisions inside the GOP have been resolved yet, and dozens more are lurking, including debates over tax breaks for renewable energy, credits that aid low-income households, and the treatment of carried interest income for private-equity managers. ‘The notion that tax is easier than health is not borne out by the facts,’ said a Senate GOP aide. ‘Having discussed health care for seven years, Republicans were 75% in agreement on the policy. On tax, none of the foundational questions have been answered.’” [Wall Street Journal, 3/26/17]

New York Times: “The Health Care Failure Also Makes The Tax Overhaul More Politically Complex As The Fissures Within The Republican Party Have Been Laid Bare.” According to the New York Times, “The health care failure also makes the tax overhaul more politically complex as the fissures within the Republican Party have been laid bare. Mr. Trump followed Mr. Ryan’s lead and lost, making it more likely that the White House will try to steer the direction of tax legislation. ‘I would be surprised given the health law debacle if the Trump administration sits back and lets Congress fashion the legislation without weighing in on the substance,’ said Michael J. Graetz, a tax law professor at Columbia University. ‘That is one of the lessons that the administration will take from the failure of the health bill.’” [New York Times, 3/26/17]

Washington Post: “House And Senate Republicans Are At Odds Over The Wisdom Of A Key Component Of Tax Restructuring.” According to the Washington Post, “Meanwhile, House and Senate Republicans are at odds over the wisdom of a key component of tax restructuring. Ryan has proposed a border-adjustment tax that would essentially create new taxes on items imported into the United States as a way to raise close to $1 trillion in new revenue while also providing incentives for companies to move operations to the United States. Many other Republicans oppose this idea, though, and the fight probably will only intensify now. Some Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), argue that the scheme would drive up prices on consumer goods, and many large retailers are strongly opposed. Given such divides, as well as the mechanics of the budget process, it’s highly unlikely that lawmakers will produce a comprehensive tax bill by the August recess, if at all, said Jim Manley, a former longtime aide to former Senate majority leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).” [Washington Post, 3/25/17]

Politico: “The House, Senate And Businesses Are Already Clashing Over Key Elements Of A House GOP Plan, Notably A Provision Known As ‘Border Adjustability’ That Would Tax Imports But Not Exports.” According to Politico, “Even if the Republican health care plan had succeeded, tax reform wasn’t going to be easy. The House, Senate and businesses are already clashing over key elements of a House GOP plan, notably a provision known as ‘border adjustability’ that would tax imports but not exports. Ultimately the issue centers on House Republicans’ desire to pass a tax overhaul that would raise the same amount of money as the current tax code. Eliminating taxes tied to the Affordable Care Act would have made reform cheaper by pulling down the budget baseline of how much money was expected to come in to the federal government.” [Politico, 3/24/17]

Co-Director Of The Tax Policy Center William Gale: “If Trump Can’t Line Up Support For Health Care, It’s Going To Be Hard To See How He Will Be Able To Lead On Tax Reform.” “‘If Trump can’t line up support for health care, it’s going to be hard to see how he will be able to lead on tax reform,’ said William Gale, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-director of the Tax Policy Center. Tax policy is arguably as hard or harder than health care, in terms of juggling all the interest groups, Gale says. ‘You need a president to be able to take the argument to the people and basically provide cover for individual legislators who are going to be besieged by constituents and lobbyists who are losing benefits,’ he says.” [NPR, 3/25/17]

NPR: “The Same Fissures In The GOP That Derailed The Health Care Bill Will Be There When It Comes To Any Big Issue Moving Forward, Whether It’s Tax Reform, Infrastructure Or Funding The Government.” According to NPR, “But it’s hardly going to be that simple or easy. The same fissures in the GOP that derailed the health care bill will be there when it comes to any big issue moving forward, whether it’s tax reform, infrastructure or funding the government. And Republicans warn that, unless the president is willing to learn and own the details, the result will likely be the same — failure.” [NPR, 3/27/17]

NBC News: “On Tax Reform, Republicans Are Already Divided Over Speaker Paul Ryan’s Border-Adjustment-Tax Proposal.” According to NBC News, “On tax reform, Republicans are already divided over Speaker Paul Ryan’s border-adjustment-tax proposal. ‘It’s virtually guaranteed that the companies who will pay more because of the proposed changes will fight at least as hard as those that will pay less. That will make the tax reform debate longer, tougher and much nastier than anyone is currently assuming,’ budget expert Stan Collender writes. On keeping the government funded, Axios says the issue of Planned Parenthood could potentially shut down the government. ‘The conservative House Freedom Caucus … will almost certainly make defunding the women’s health group and country’s biggest abortion provider a non-negotiable condition for it to support the government funding bill.’ And on raising the debt limit, well, we’ve seen that movie before, right?” [NBC News, 3/27/17]