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Trump Urges GOP to be Swift on Budget  10/23 05:30

   House Republicans leaders are hoping to pass a budget bill this week so they 
can turn their attention to tax reform.

   WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) -- House Republicans, with the urging of President 
Donald Trump, will strive to pass a budget this week so they can turn their 
attention to tax reform. Trump warned that action on tax reform is crucial to 
avoiding political failure in 2018.

   Trump on Sunday personally implored House GOP members on a conference call 
to swiftly adopt the budget that was passed last week by the Senate, with the 
hope of clearing the way for what he described as historic tax cuts.

   Trump told the lawmakers they were on the verge of doing something historic, 
according to one Republican official, who, like others, spoke on condition of 
anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss publicly what was 
intended as a private update for members.

   Another GOP aide familiar with the conversation said Trump told the members 
again and again that the party would pay a steep price in next year's midterm 
elections if it failed to pass his plan. The Trump proposal would slash the 
corporate tax rate to 20 percent and double the standard deduction used by most 
Americans. The president also said multiple times that his plan was the right 
thing to do for country, this person said.

   The Senate last week passed a budget plan that includes rules that will 
allow Republicans to get tax legislation through the Senate without Democratic 
votes or fear of a Democratic filibuster. House Republicans signaled Friday 
they would simply accept the Senate plan to avoid any potential delay on the 
tax measure.

   Republicans are desperate to rack up a legislative win after a series of 
embarrassing failures that have come despite the fact that the party controls 
both chambers of Congress and the White House. At the top of the list: their 
stalled attempts to pass legislation repealing and replacing "Obamacare." If 
tax reform doesn't pass, many in the party fear an all-out revolt in 2018.

   On the conference call Sunday, House Speaker Paul Ryan told members he hoped 
to pass the Senate version of the budget bill this week to increase the chances 
that tax reform can be enacted by the end of the year.

   The leaders emphasized the need for the House to pass the Senate budget to 
avoid negotiations between the two chambers that could slow the process, said 
two lawmakers on the call, who also spoke on condition of anonymity. They said 
the goal is for House passage of the budget this week, putting it on track to 
approve a tax bill by Thanksgiving. Yet lawmakers have yet to work out crucial 
details of the plan, including which income levels would be framed in what way 
by new tax-brackets.

   White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told Fox News earlier Sunday that 
the House was working "very quickly to accept the Senate amendments," and said 
the plan "may save as many as 10 or 12 legislative days, which is a big deal."

   Trump, who spent much of the weekend at his golf course in Virginia, will 
also work to rally support for the plan on the Hill Tuesday at a lunch with 
Senate Republicans. He said he'll be available to talk with members about the 
tax bill, one lawmaker said.

   But as the focus turns to taxes, Congress continues to struggle with health 
care legislation.

   Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he'd be willing to bring 
bipartisan health care legislation to the floor -- if Trump makes clear he 
supports it. A proposal by two senators - Republican Lamar Alexander of 
Tennessee and Democrat Patty Murray of Washington - would extend for two years 
federal insurance payments that Trump has blocked, in an effort to stabilize 
insurance markets. But Trump has offered mixed signals, alternately praising 
and condemning the effort - confusing Democrats and Republicans alike.

   Asked whether he would bring the bill to the floor, McConnell said on CNN's 
"State of the Union" that he was waiting "to hear from President Trump what 
kind of health care bill he might sign."

   "If there's a need for some kind of interim step here to stabilize the 
market, we need a bill the president will actually sign. And I'm not certain 
yet what the president is looking for here, but I will be happy to bring a bill 
to the floor if I know President Trump would sign it," the Republican said. He 
added of Trump: "I think he hasn't made a final decision."

   The plan unveiled last week likely has 60 votes in the Senate, mostly from 
Democrats, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday urged McConnell 
to bring it to the floor "immediately, this week."

   "This is a good compromise," Schumer said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

   Mulvaney said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that Trump doesn't want to back a 
plan "without also getting something for folks who are being hurt."

   "I think there's actually a pretty good chance to get a deal," he said. 
"It's just Murray-Alexander in its current form probably isn't far enough yet." 


(ES)

 
 
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