President Donald Trump’s sudden debt-ceiling agreement with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has magnified the worries of conservative congressmen that if the White House can’t get a major GOP tax reform bill passed quickly, it will instead turn to Democrats for the necessary votes, Politico reported on Wednesday.
Conservatives fear these concerns are warranted due to the strong connections to Democrats of the administration’s two key leaders on tax reform (Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economic adviser Gary Cohn) and the desire of Trump to avoid another legislative embarrassment when he failed to pass the repeal and replace of Obamacare as he promised, despite Republican control of the White House and both houses of Congress.
Virginia Republican Rep. Dave Brat warned that “We don’t want our president and his administration moving all over the place away from Republican principles,” and turning to Democrats.
These concerns are sure to be heightened after Mnuchin said he isn’t positive the administration will achieve its goal of lowering the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, which was Trump’s major specific promise concerning tax reform, CNBC reported.
Despite a push from the White House for Congress to make rapid progress on a tax reform bill, there have not yet been any details about what the plan is, even as Trump has held rallies to build up support for the general idea.
Trump also has made repeated overtures to Senate Democrats from states he won and who are up for reelection in 2018, another move which has concerned conservatives who fear this means much of the GOP agenda in the bill will be watered down so that it will pass, according to Politico.
Adding to their concerns is that many conservatives do not have the confidence that Mnuchin or Cohn has the knowledge, experience or political credibility to make a major GOP tax overhaul pass its way through Congress this fall, as neither man has ever worked in or with the legislative branch.