PHILADELPHIA — GOP lawmakers are gearing up for a busy first 200 days of the Trump administration, hoping to repeal and replace Obamacare by April and pass comprehensive tax reform by August. And despite some discrepancies between plans, House Speaker Paul Ryan said congressional Republicans and the president are in step when it comes accomplishing their ambitious agenda.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to address the conference at the annual GOP policy retreat in Philadelphia Thursday. Members are hoping to leave the City of Brotherly Love with a sense of unity on how they will move forward on pressing issues.
While Trump has repeatedly railed against border adjustability, which places a tax on imports while exempting exports — a key component in keeping tax cuts revenue neutral in the House GOP’s tax blueprint — Ryan is confident they will be able to come together on a plan within the time frame they’ve mapped out.
“We’re in a very good place on tax reform, it can get complicated when you get into the details of tax reform, but once we go through how tax reform works and what’s it going to take to get the kind of competitive tax system, the kind of competitive tax rates,” Ryan told reporters. “I think most people agree that this is the right approach — we’re going to work the legislative process through.”
He also noted that the party is not setting “arbitrary deadlines,” adding they want to move quickly to deliver on promises they’ve made to constituents while assuring they get things right.
“We are on the same page as the White House, we’re going to be hearing from the president today, we’ve been working with the administration everyday to map out and plan a very bold and aggressive agenda to make good on our campaign promises and fix these problems,” Ryan continued.
Ryan argued tax reform is a critical component in delivering economic growth and stimulating job creation.
“We want American businesses to be able to compete — we are losing business left and right, they are moving overseas, they are being bought by foreign companies, they’re inverting and becoming foreign companies,” he said. “We have to fix this to keep American businesses in American and we also believe comprehensive fundamental tax reform can put American businesses in a better position to keep businesses here and make things in America and export them around the world — that creates a lot of good jobs.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said to expect two reconciliation bills, which only require a simple majority to pass the upper chamber, within the first six months to tackle their two top priorities.
“The two biggest issues we’re moving forward with in the first half of the year, obviously, are repealing and replacing Obamacare and tax reform,” he told reporters. “Both of those we anticipate having no Democrat cooperation, so we’re working with the House to make sure these measures are reconciled and the speaker understands the challenges of getting things through the Senate. We’re aware of those challenges, but we think we can move forward.”
Ryan noted they extended their timeline from 100 days to 200 days to accommodate the Senate’s schedule. McConnell said they are working to accomplish as much of their policy agenda as possible while working to pass 1,200 of Trump’s appointments.
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