President Trump and a top adviser on Wednesday pushed back plans to overhaul the tax code, saying they wanted to prioritize first a renewed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The comments from Trump and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney mark a sharp reversal from the administration’s approach just a few weeks ago. After they were dealt a stinging defeat when conservative Republicans refused to vote for a GOP health-care plan, Trump angrily said he was pivoting to tax reform and has been peppering his top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, for details of their tax timeline ever since.
“Health care is going to happen at some point,” Trump said. “Now, if it doesn't happen fast enough, I'll start the taxes. But the tax reform and the tax cuts are better if I can do health care first.”
But the new delay is a harsh political reality that White House officials are now accepting. Congressional budget rules make it much easier to pass a broad overhaul of the tax code once the roughly $1 trillion in taxes that are in the Affordable Care Act have already been repealed. So if the health-care law is repealed and replaced, the tax overhaul becomes politically easier.
Trump dismissed this concern several weeks ago following the first failed effort to repeal the health-care law, but he and Mulvaney both said on Wednesday that this was a procedural issue that had now adjusted their approach.
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