White House And Kochs Team Up On Tax Reform

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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The Trump administration and Koch-affiliated organizations are teaming up in an effort to push comprehensive tax reform through Congress.

Vice President Mike Pence will keynote the American For Prosperity’s largest event of 2017–Defending the American Dream Summit–in Richmond, Va., on August 19. Pence will speak before hundreds of volunteers about the administration’s plan to largely overhaul the nation’s tax code.

White House legislative affairs director Marc Short and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin kicked off the administration’s tax reform campaign Monday at an event in downtown Washington hosted by Koch-backed groups Americans For Prosperity and Freedom Partners.

House Ways and Means Committee will begin the markup process on tax reform in September, with the goal of pushing a bill through the House in October and the Senate in November, Short said Monday. At that point, the bill would make it to President Donald Trump’s desk for approval.

The burgeoning relationship between these Koch groups and the administration is interesting, given that Charles Koch likened the choice between Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as choosing between cancer and a heart attack.

The vice president will take the stage alongside Federal Communications Commissioner Chairman Ajit Pai and Republican Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie. The event will not mark the first time that the administration and the Koch “Liberty Network” have teamed up since President Donald Trump took office.

Koch-affiiliated organizations threw hundreds of millions of dollars behind limited-government candidates for the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives in the 2016 election cycle, but notably stayed out of the presidential race. (RELATED: Koch Network: ‘America’s Best Days Are Ahead Of Us’)

While the network was not involved in the 2016 presidential race, the June conference had many familiar political faces to the Koch-affiliated organizations. Vice President Mike Pence, who previously attended Koch network conferences in Colorado and received its support while serving as Indiana governor, visited the resort the night before the conference kicked off. The meeting reportedly consisted of “good cordial discussions of issues” important to the network, but was in no way to “push” or press the vice president on any policy agenda, President of Americans For Prosperity Tim Phillips told reporters.

Phillips is excited to continue his organization’s longstanding relationship with the vice president at the Richmond event in late August.

“Vice President Pence hasn’t just talked about freedom; he’s had the hard job of defending freedom as the governor of a state. He knows first-hand what kind of determination it takes to realize our free-market ideals. I can’t think of anyone better to address this group and leave them with the right advice to make a difference in advancing a free society,” Pence said in a statement released to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Editor’s Note: Robert Donachie is a former Koch Associate

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