White House looks past conservatives on tax reform – to Democrats

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New Delhi | Published: March 27, 2017 4:14:51 AM

Fresh off a defeat on US healthcare legislation, the White House warned rebellious conservative lawmakers that they should get behind President Donald Trump's agenda or he may bypass them on future legislative fights, including tax reform.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady said his committee had been working on tax reform in parallel with the failed healthcare reform push. (Reuters)

Fresh off a defeat on US healthcare legislation, the White House warned rebellious conservative lawmakers that they should get behind President Donald Trump’s agenda or he may bypass them on future legislative fights, including tax reform.

The threat by 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 tax-writing committee in the House of Representatives said he hoped to move a tax bill through his 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 healthcare reform push.

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

Brady said the committee plans to move on the bill in the spring. He said he wanted the House blueprint to be the basis for Trump’s tax reform plan rather than have competing versions from Treasury and the White House.

Both Trump and Priebus have scolded hardline conservatives who rejected legislation backed by the White House to overhaul Obamacare.

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Priebus held out the possibility of working with moderate Democrats as well as Republicans to pass other aspects of Trump’s agenda, such as his proposed budget, the revamp of the tax code and a renewed effort at healthcare reform.

“If we can come up with a bill that accomplishes the goals of the president with Republicans alone, we’ll take it and we’ll move forward with it,” Priebus said.

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

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

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