Republicans Move to Resolve Tax Bill Differences as Cost Concerns Loom

Republicans Move to Resolve Tax Bill Differences as Cost Concerns Loom


Mr. McConnell publicly remains cool to the idea. On Wednesday, Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the Republican chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, reiterated his support for a 20 percent corporate rate.

“We will take all that up in conference,” Mr. Brady said. “I continue to make the point the 20 percent rate is crucial to competitiveness.”

Mr. Brady also said that some House Republicans had called for some form of medical expense deduction to be in the final tax bill.

The conference committee, which will be made up of Republicans and Democrats from the House and Senate, will have one public meeting that is likely to take place next week. While most of the negotiations will occur behind closed doors among Republicans, Democrats will have another opportunity to publicly criticize the bill.

Republican lawmakers are looking to quickly resolve differences so they can get the bill signed and to Mr. Trump by Christmas.

“I can’t imagine having come this far we’re not going to finish the job,” Mr. McConnell of Kentucky told the radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday. He added that he was “almost certain” that the bill would reach the desk of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump, for his part, expressed optimism on Wednesday that the bill would get to him quickly and said that he expected the tax bill to help drive a surge in economic growth to 6 percent — a level far greater than most economists believe possible.

“So we’re at 3.3 percent G.D.P.,” Mr. Trump said, referring to gross domestic product, a measure of the economy’s strength. “I see no reason why we don’t go to 4, 5 and even 6 percent.”

Mr. Trump said that there were parts of the Senate and House bills that he preferred but that he was confident the final version would be better than both proposals. He said that the last step of the process would ensure that the “sliver” of taxpayers who do not currently receive relief from the legislation were taken care of.

On Wednesday night, Senate Republicans announced that Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, John Cornyn of Texas, John Thune of South Dakota, Rob Portman of Ohio, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania would sit on the conference committee.

In a sign of their confidence, Republicans are already looking past taxes to their next priority: gutting safety net programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

“We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” the speaker of the House, Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, said on Wednesday during an interview with the radio host Ross Kaminsky.

During his campaign, Mr. Trump opposed cutting Medicare and Medicaid, but Mr. Ryan said that he was working to persuade him to change his mind.

“I think these reforms that we’ve been talking about, that we’re still going to keep pushing, that will help not just make Medicaid less expensive and health care itself, but it will help Medicare as well,” Mr. Ryan said during the interview. “And I think the president’s understanding choice and competition works everywhere in health care, especially in Medicare.”

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Source: nytimes.com

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