White House Looking For Bipartisan Support on Tax Reform

The Trump administration is focused on garnering Democratic support for bipartisan tax reform, according to the White House. President Trump will host a dinner for three moderate Democratic senators to discuss tax reform on  September 12. These three lawmakers are the only Senate Democrats who did not sign a letter drafted by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Finance Committee (SFC) ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., stipulating certain conditions for bipartisan tax reform.

Bipartisan Support

Congressional leaders intend to bring tax reform legislation through the budget reconciliation process, which only requires a simple majority vote to pass. However, White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short said on September 12 that the administration feels it cannot achieve tax reform on a strictly partisan basis. “It would be wise for us…to try and reach out and earn the support from Democrats, as well,” Short said. “We learned this summer that keeping 50 or 52 Republicans [senators] is not something that’s reliable,” he noted. This was a reference to the failed GOP effort to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148 ). Details of the tax reform plan are expected to be unveiled in “a matter of days,” according to Short.

Best Deal Possible

The president is looking to get the best possible deal on tax reform with bipartisan support, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters during a September 12 press briefing. “I’m not going to get ahead of the dinner tonight, but I think that we want to work together to make sure we can get as much of that (legislative agenda) done as possible,” Sanders said.

Meanwhile, Schumer and Wyden, in a conference call with press on September 12, reiterated the principles outlined in the letter setting out the conditions to be met for bipartisan tax reform. According to those senators, any tax reform package that has Democratic backing will not be moved through the reconciliation process and will not provide a tax cut to the top 1 percent of taxpayers.

“We’re willing to work with Republicans and the White House, but only if they adhere to three basic principles we outlined this summer,” Schumer said on the call. “That means not one penny of tax cuts should go to that top 1 percent,” he added.

By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff

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