The White House expects tax reform legislation to move quickly through Congress this fall, advancing through the House in October and clearing the Senate in November, legislative director Marc Short said Monday.
Markups will begin in September, Short said at an event hosted by a pair of conservative political groups backed by the billionaire Koch brothers — Freedom Partners and Americans for Prosperity.
“So that, I think, is an aggressive schedule, but that is our timetable,” Short said, later adding, “I think we’re in for a long fall, legislative calendar-wise.”
Short’s ambitious timeline is the most specific laid out by the White House or Congress in recent months. It tracks with a joint statement issued by administration and congressional negotiators last week, which said, “Our expectation is for this legislation to move through the committees this fall, under regular order, followed by consideration on the House and Senate floors.”
Republican lawmakers and the White House are anxious to get tax reform — including rate cuts for businesses and individuals — to President Donald Trump’s desk by the end of the year. They badly need a legislative victory after their attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare fell apart, and they also hope a tax overhaul will juice the economy in time for the 2018 elections.
The administration expects the budget debate to play out in September and October, Short said. Republicans are planning to use special instructions in the budget to pass tax reform with a simple majority in the Senate to short circuit a Democratic filibuster.
But Short also suggested a Republican-only pathway isn’t completely necessary. Some Democrats might get on board, particularly those up for reelection next year in states Trump carried, he said.
Speaking at the same event as Short, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said tax reform would unleash economic growth, help individuals keep more money in their pockets and trigger businesses to expand more and more.
“This is about creating jobs, this is about creating wage growth, this is about a simpler and fairer tax system,” Mnuchin said.
Conservative groups and business associations are unleashing campaigns to build public support for tax reform since the negotiators’ issued their statement. They announced that they decided to drop a controversial tax on imports that had divided businesses and drawn opposition from Koch-aligned groups and other conservative organizations.