Don’t Bet against Tax and Health-Care Reform in 2017

Amid all the Russia controversy, Trump and the GOP Congress can get it done.

.. Look, the House has already passed a repeal and replace of Obamacare. And a Senate health-care working group led by Lamar Alexander and Ted Cruz is making progress resolving key issues between moderates and conservatives. There’s no reason why the AHCA can’t become law by the August recess.

And that opens the door for taxes.

.. Representative Peter Roskam, who chairs the tax-policy subcommittee, said this last week: “I’m of the view that 2017 is the year.” He thinks tax reform is easier than replacing Obamacare.

.. So following a markup, Ways and Means can report out a bill. And because prosperity is America’s Number One issue, it will pass the floor relatively easily. And that will put pressure on the Senate to get moving.

.. the very core of the tax bill is a simple three steps:

  1. a deep corporate-tax-rate cut,
  2. immediate expensing for new equipment of all kinds, and
  3. the repatriation of offshore cash.

This is the tonic that will restore capital formation, productivity, real wages, and growth.

Both Senate and House leaders have got to understand how flexible reconciliation is. It can be nearly anything you want it to be. The key player is Senate president Mike Pence, who can overrule the parliamentarian.

.. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

.. “What I have said repeatedly is that any plan we put forward we believe to be paid for with economic growth.”

.. And lowering marginal tax rates across-the-board, especially on large and small businesses, will foster the mother of all prosperities — the one middle-class Americans in all those red counties that voted for Trump have been yearning for.

The Republican Health-Care Crack-Up

decided on a two-part strategy. Republicans would repeal much of Obamacare early, using “reconciliation” procedures to allow a simple majority of the Senate to act without being filibustered by the Democratic minority. Later, they would repeal the rest of Obamacare and enact a replacement.

Republicans had already passed a reconciliation bill repealing Obamacare’s taxes and subsidies when President Obama was in office. (He vetoed it, of course.) Replacement would, on the other hand, require Republicans to overcome their disagreements.

.. It became clear, however, that McConnell’s plan would not work, in large part because insurance markets could collapse in the interim.

.. The House leaders devised a bill that they said accomplished as much of both repeal and replacement as the parliamentarian would allow.

.. many of the conservative critics, at least by the end of the debate over the bill, were willing to accept that tax credits were necessary. What continued to concern them was that so many of Obamacare’s regulations were left in place.

.. That problem could have been addressed by being less aggressive in rolling back Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid .. and by making the tax credits more generous to people with incomes a little too high for Medicaid and people nearing retirement.

.. Mike Lee of Utah, an ally of the Freedom Caucus, reported that the parliamentarian had told him that nobody had asked her about the permissibility of some specific deregulatory steps

.. What it really shows, above all, is that legislating is easier when you have 60 rather than 52 senators on your side. The Democrats had a much freer hand in making regulatory changes when they passed Obamacare

.. During the campaign he had a brief outline of a plan that made little sense, and he dropped it in favor of letting the Congress come up with something.

.. Nothing is stopping the Republicans from spending the next year hammering out a bill that they like better, refining it as they go so that it enables more people to buy coverage they actually want.

.. Most Republicans now embrace moving toward a market in which all Americans have the option to buy renewable catastrophic coverage and in which such coverage competes with more comprehensive plans on a level playing field.

Cruz suggests ignoring Senate parliamentarian for ObamaCare repeal

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is suggesting that the GOP could ignore interpretations of the Senate parliamentarian if it means sending a full repeal of ObamaCare to the president’s desk.

“At the end of the day, the Senate parliamentarian is an employee of the Senate. Virtually every Republican campaigned promising full repeal,”

.. While the parliamentarian’s role is strictly advisory, Senate leaders rarely ignore his or her advice.