Washington: President Donald Trump urged House Republicans to move swiftly on passing a budget bill during a conference call, clearing the way for what he described as historic tax cuts.
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both joined the House GOP call yesterday 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, according to one Republican official, who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss publicly what was intended as a private update for members.
Another GOP aide familiar with the conversation said that Trump told the members 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, which would slash the corporate tax rate to 20 percent and double the standard deduction used by most average Americans. The president also said multiple times that, beyond the looming elections, his plan was the right thing to do for country, the person said.
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 signalled 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.
The leaders emphasised the need for the House to pass the Senate budget to avoid negotiations between the two chambers that could slow the process, said two lawmakers on the call, who also spoke on condition of anonymity. They said the goal is for House passage of the budget this week, putting the House on track to approve a tax bill by Thanksgiving.
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, had told Fox News earlier yesterday that the House was working “very quickly to accept the Senate amendments,” and said the plan “may save as many as 10 or 12 legislative days, which is a big deal.”
Trump, who spent much of the weekend at his gold 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.