House conservative: Tax overhaul must
happen by Thanksgiving
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[August 03, 2017]
By David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican lawmakers
must deliver tax legislation to President Donald Trump's desk before
December or lose their chance to enact bold reforms capable of driving
the U.S. economy, a leading Republican conservative said on Wednesday.
Representative Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, told
conservative activists that the prospects for significant tax reform
would diminish as lawmakers approach the start of the 2018 congressional
election campaign in January.
He said lawmakers needed to introduce tax legislation in September, pass
the measure through the House of Representatives and Senate and send it
to Trump's desk by the Nov. 23 U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.
"If it doesn't get there by Thanksgiving, guys, it isn't going to
happen," Meadows said.
The White House has said it expects the House to vote on a tax bill in
October and the Senate in November. Trump's fellow Republicans control
Analysts say the schedule could be too optimistic, because Congress is
due to spend much of September and possibly October on spending bills to
keep the government open and a debt ceiling increase to avoid default on
sovereign U.S. debt.
Lawmakers could be more likely to approve tax legislation in early 2018,
the analysts say. But Meadows rejected that possibility. "The minute we
go past January, everybody starts saying: 'We can't do anything too
bold,'" he said.
Republicans plan to move tax legislation forward through a procedure
known as reconciliation, which would allow the Senate to pass a bill
with a simple majority. Republicans control the chamber by a 52-48
margin and would otherwise need 60 votes.
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Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), House Freedom Caucus Chairman, speaks to
reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2017.
The failure of Senate Republicans to find a simple majority for
healthcare legislation last week has led to calls for bipartisan tax
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney shot down that idea
earlier on Wednesday.
"A tax bill looks a lot weaker, a lot less likely to get us to 3
percent economic growth, if we've got eight, 10, 12, 14 Democrats on
it," he told Fox News.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell rejected a Democratic
overture for broad bipartisanship on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he still
hoped some Democrats would back Republican tax legislation.
"There is a great deal of bipartisan consensus about what ails our
tax code, and my hope is that our friends on the other side of the
aisle will join with us in a serious way," McConnell said on the
(Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Peter Cooney)
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