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Conservatives Are Unifying Around Tax Reform… For Now

By  |  October 10, 2017, 03:36pm  |  @captainkudzu


Republican unity has long been a problem. Factional fighting within the GOP is a problem that predates President Trump, but things have not gotten better under the new administration as Republican infighting resulted in the death of the Obamacare reform bill. Now, however, there are signs that conservatives may be uniting around President Trump’s framework for tax reform.

In contrast to the Republican healthcare bill, broad support is emerging for the tax reform plan. A coalition of 30 conservative organizations has sent a letter of support for the plan to House members.

“We urge Congress to expeditiously pass a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions so that the promise of tax reform can be made a reality,” the letter, which is posted in its entirety on the Chamber of Commerce website, says. “It has been 31 years since Congress last reformed the tax code. Since then, the code has become an anchor weighing down the economy, job creation, and wage growth for American families.”

“The single-most important next step is for Congress to adopt a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions that will permit tax reform to move forward without the threat of a filibuster,” the group said. Using a budget reconciliation will allow the tax reform bill to be enacted with only 51 votes in the Senate, but subjects the bill to additional restrictions.

At this point, the tax reform legislation is still being written, so many of the specifics of the plan are not known. As the bill is put together, factional differences over details may make it difficult for some Republicans to support the final product. It was these factional differences between the party’s conservatives and moderates that doomed the party’s healthcare reform effort.

With only 52 Republicans in the Senate, a loss of more than two votes would kill tax reform. Conservatives will be watching senators such as John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Susan Collins (R- Maine) closely for signs of wobbliness.

If Republicans can stay unified on the issue, they may finally be able to score a legislative victory on one of the core issues of the 2016 campaign. If they can’t pull off tax reform, it will likely give a boost to Steve Bannon’s effort to remake the party in President Trump’s image.