Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans are planning to use the reconciliation process for tax reform, arguing they will need to employ the parliamentary procedure due to Democrats’ hesitance to work with them on overhauling the tax code.
Reconciliation allows the upper chamber to pass a budgetary-related bill with a simple majority, offering the GOP the ability to push for more conservative reforms.
“We will need to use reconciliation because we have been informed by the majority of the Democrats in a letter I just received today that most of the principles that would get the country growing again, they’re not interested in addressing,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday. “So, I don’t think this is going to be 1986 when you had a bipartisan effort to scrub the code.”
McConnell noted not all Democrats have come out against working across the aisle, telling reporters he would welcome their support.
“There’s nothing that prevents, even though you do the reconciliation process, nothing prevents any Democrat from supporting it who chooses to,” he said. “So I don’t want to give up on the prospect of having some. But the goal would be to finish that sometime this year.”
McConnell said both chambers plan to take up tax reform in September, adding both the Senate Committee on Finance and House Committee on Ways and Means plans will mark up the legislation after it is written.
While McConnell claims using reconciliation is necessary, a number of GOP lawmakers have said they should consider a bipartisan approach, especially in the wake of the hurdles they’ve faced during the Obamacare repeal process. A handful of Republican senators said it might be beneficial to work with members across the aisle on passing legislation if Democrats are willing to work with them.
“Well, I think what he [McConnell] is responding to are basically the comments that are being made and the letter that he got from the Democrats insisting on in order for them to be participants in this — what they would have to have in the bill — and I think that a lot of those things aren’t consistent with what we want to see in a pro-growth tax reform,” Senate Republican Conference Chair John Thune told reporters.”I would like to see us at least attempt to work with the Democrats — see if any of them are available and willing to work with us on tax reform that we truly think is pro-growth.”
Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson told The Daily Caller News Foundation he believes Republicans should only use the reconciliation process as a last resort with both health care and tax reform. The senator said he is working on a tax proposal he plans to write over recess that he hopes will attract bipartisan support.
“I think you start the conversation [with Democrats], which is what I’ve tried to do. I’ve got a corporate tax plan. We’re calling it the True Warren Buffett Tax. It taxes corporate income at the shareholder level,” he told reporters. “It would be a true Warren Buffett tax, so if you are a low tax-rate taxpayer, it will be more beneficial for you to hold stock. It helps close the inequality gap. So, I’ve reached out to Democratic senators, and I’m hoping to get some co-sponsors.”
Johnson said he understands the need to use reconciliation when necessary.
“I think that’s the way you start any conversation, let’s try and reach out, let’s try and find bipartisan support,” he said. “But I have no problem setting things up under reconciliation — particularly in light of the demands Democrats already put out. It kind of makes tax reform pointless if you’re not willing to do reforms that will promote economic growth.
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