Trump: ‘It Would Have Been Easier To Start With Taxes’

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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President Donald Trump admitted during an interview with The Wall Street Journal that it would have been simpler to kick off his administration’s legislative efforts with reforming the tax code over trying to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The president told TheWSJ on July 25 that his one regret six months into his first term was not starting with tax reform, but that would only be a regret if Senate Republicans failed to overhaul Obamacare.

“And, you know, it is – it would have been easier to start with taxes, but this is better if it works, OK? If it works, this is better,” Trump told TheWSJ.

Trump said that he didn’t want to waste any political capital he had with Democrats on infrastructure or tax reform, and that was the reason he decided to start pushing health care reform.

“You know, a lot of people said you should have started with taxes or you should have started with infrastructure. Well, infrastructure I’ll actually have bipartisan support, and I can use infrastructure to carry other things along. So I don’t want to waste it at the beginning, if that makes sense,” Trump said.

The president’s interview with TheWSJ came the same day that Senate Republicans began debating their proposals to remove, or largely do away with, Obamacare as the law of the land.

The Senate struck down its last-ditch bill to repeal and replace Obamacare early Friday morning in a contentious 51-49 vote. Senators shot down two other proposals last week — one to repeal and replace Obamacare and another to repeal Obamacare without a replacement.

Senators are scheduled to hold further hearings on health care reform once they return to Washington in September after the August recess concludes.

While the administration and Senate leadership is still struggling with its defeat, Trump could see some bipartisan progress on tax reform within the coming weeks.

Senate Democrats signaled their willingness Tuesday to work with Republicans on tax reform, provided it includes a few key concessions to the party’s platform. (RELATED: Dems Hint They Will Work With GOP On Tax Reform)

Forty-three Democrats and two Independent senators sent President Donald Trump a letter Monday expressing their willingness to work with the administration and Republicans on passing tax reform. The Democrats are asking in exchange for their bipartisanship that the tax reform package not cut taxes on the wealthy, increase the federal deficit, or allow the Republicans to pass the legislation without Democratic support.

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