The House tax-writing committee, the Senate and the White House will unveil a “consensus document” in upcoming weeks that lays out the Republican Party’s framework for tax reform, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady announced Wednesday morning during a conference meeting with Republicans.
“What I announced today is when we return the week of the 25th, we will release the consensus document with President Trump and Senate tax writers and then we will move forward on the budget issue,” Brady said.
Overhauling the tax code has emerged as the GOP’s next major legislative effort, the last chance before the end of the year to pass major legislation and deliver President Donald Trump a political victory.
During a meeting with a group of bipartisan lawmakers, Trump told reporters that bipartisan tax reform is a “positive thing.”
“More and more, we’re trying to work things out together. That’s a positive thing and it’s good for the Republicans and good for the Democrats,” Trump said.
Asked by CNN’s Jeff Zeleny if conservatives should be skeptical of his meeting with Democrats, Trump said “well, I’m a conservative and I will tell you I’m not skeptical.”
According to a source in the room with the Republican conference earlier, Brady told Republicans at conference Wednesday that “the stakes are higher than ever that we deliver this year.”
The plan now is for Republicans in the House and the Senate to unveil their framework alongside the White House the week of September 25. After that, the GOP will try and pass their budget, a necessary step if the Republicans want to use a process known as reconciliation to pass tax reform. Reconciliation is key if Republicans want to be able to pass changes to the tax system with a just 51 votes. Without it, the Senate would need 60 votes, a much steeper climb because it would require broad Democratic support.
According to the source in the room, Brady told his Republican colleagues that the goal is for the House and Senate to complete the budget process by mid-October, adding that the budget was the “runway to land” tax reform.
“No budget, no tax reform,” Brady told the conference.
Conservatives are waiting anxiously for those tax reform details. Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have stood in the way of any budget until they see a clearer outline of the tax reform package leadership wants to bring forward.
“I want to see some level of detail as opposed to just platitudes. We’re all for tax reform,” said Rep. Scott Perry, a conservative. “Show me what it looks like. People say ‘you’re holding up tax reform.’ Really? Show it to me. Show me what it is that I’m holding up.”
Rep. David Brat, another conservative member of the House Freedom Caucus, said that he is hopeful that whatever is released on September 25 will give him enough level of detail to allow him to support the budget.
“Just bullets and structure is all I need,” Brat said.
But, conservatives do have some concerns that the bill could be more bipartisan and therefore moderate than they’d like.
“We want to know what tax reform looks like … are you going to vote on it and then find out what’s in it later? No, we did that on Obamacare. We did a face plant on that exact logic,” Brat said.