Conservatives need to unite to push tax reform legislation across the finish line, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday morning.
His call to come together, delivered in a speech at the Heritage Foundation, comes a day after a bloc of right-leaning groups publicly demanded that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his top deputies vacate their leadership posts because they’ve failed to deliver tax legislation and other conservative priorities this year.
But Ryan said it’s incumbent on the right to fight back against those who he said have rigged tax laws to their benefit, echoing language used for months by conservative groups about “unrigging” the economy.
“An army of lobbyists will come to protect special interest provisions and to derail tax reform,” Ryan said. “When it does, we must be able to count on the foot soldiers of the conservative movement to see this through.”
Legislators on the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees are developing details of a bill to reshape tax laws based on a framework Ryan and McConnell developed with White House officials and congressional tax writers.
Their plan is based on lowering rates for businesses and individuals, but it has come under fire for its potential to drive the federal deficit higher and higher because so many of the tax cuts appear to favor top-income earners.
Ryan pushed back against that criticism, saying a tax overhaul is seminal to the future of the U.S. and economic growth.
“Under our plan, people in the middle get real relief,” he said. “We are lowering rates so people can keep more of what they earn.”