Haven’t we seen this movie before? Take out the words “tax reform” and put in “ObamaCare repeal” from this CNN report, and we have a rerun from March. It appears that the White House and the conservative bloc in the House Republican caucus have come to loggerheads on the next major piece of Donald Trump’s legislative agenda, but this might be more about tone and timing than content:
Vice President Mike Pence’s attempt to peel away House Republicans to support the White House’s tax plan spurred a backlash among a critical bloc of conservative lawmakers Wednesday, Hill sources said.
Pence pressed Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker to poll his members to see if they would split with House Speaker Paul Ryan and support the White House tax plan — which lacks a border tax that is the centerpiece of the House GOP proposal.
But in a flurry of exchanges Wednesday afternoon, Republican Study Committee members turned on the White House, saying they should not blindly accept whatever President Donald Trump is selling, the sources told CNN.
Is this really a big deal, though? The White House told CNN that they’re merely taking the pulse of Congress on the direction GOP leadership has taken on tax reform. Walker says he was just taking the pulse of other RSC members on his own, not under pressure from Pence. The legislative agenda has started to tighten up, but the reform plans are still in flux on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. The only indication of a “backlash” comes from one unnamed source who eavesdropped on the text exchange.
At the moment, this looks more like an example of the normal tension between a White House and Capitol Hill, even in single-party governance. Expect it to get even more contentious when Senate Republicans start adding their input, but it seems too early to characterize this as a “backlash,” at least for now. It might get chippy later on, when committees produce an actual proposal, but this story describes normal negotiations at the beginning of a long process.
And it may get even longer, Fox Business reports:
There is a growing divide among GOP Senate leaders over how to repeal and replace ObamaCare, sources told FOX Business on Thursday, which could spell trouble for President Trump’s critical tax reform plan.
As the Congressional Budget Office released its report on the American Health Care Act on Wednesday, Republican Senators had already decided to scrap the majority of the bill in favor of their own replacement plan, but there are competing agendas within the conference, FOX Business has learned.
“There’s definitely a split within the conference,” one Senate source told FOX Business.
The divide could delay the passing of the Senate’s health care initiative until August, at the earliest. That in turn could lead to a delay in passing Trump’s key tax reform package, according to additional sources close to the Senate.
If people want to find evidence of a GOP split, don’t bother to look outside of the AHCA.