- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Congressional Republicans working to craft a tax reform package are taking their pitches to major Fortune 500 companies this week, as they look to coalesce support from the business community ahead of an expected legislative push in the fall.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Wednesday the GOP learned their lesson from the failed health care process, where outside groups were often at odds and there were conflicting messages out of the House, Senate and White House.

“Unity between the House, the Senate, and the White House first, nail down understandings, get on the same page, and then go forward together. That’s the big lesson,” Mr. Ryan said at an Intel facility in Oregon.

Mr. Ryan spoke to Intel employees Wednesday as he tried to push the tax reform process forward. Republicans still have to fill in a lot of the details, but have generally called for lowering rates for individuals and businesses and scrubbing the code of all but the most popular exemptions.

“That is one of the biggest achievements we’re hoping to achieve this year, and we feel very confident about this,” said Mr. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican. “The reason we feel confident about achieving tax reform is it’s just high time. Everybody agrees.”

“We are convinced that if we get our tax rates down on all of our businesses — small businesses, big and everything in between — then we can be far more globally competitive, and we can make it make more sense to keep our companies based in America,” he said.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, who along with Mr. Ryan is helping lead the House GOP’s push on taxes, also talked up the efforts on Wednesday at an AT&T town hall in Dallas, after speaking at a UPS site in Kentucky on Tuesday.

Mr. Brady said Wednesday that lawmakers hope to move toward crafting the actual text of a bill next month. He said the world won’t end if tax reform doesn’t happen this year, but that it’s still a doable timetable.

“We know this is very ambitious,” said Mr. Brady, Texas Republican. “Right now we’re still on that timetable.”

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson expressed his own support at the event with Mr. Brady on Wednesday.

“As a CEO and a businessman, I listen to you talk and want to stand up and say, ‘Hallelujah,’” Mr. Stephenson said, according to the Dallas Morning News.

UPS CEO David Abney also issued a positive statement after the Kentucky event with Mr. Brady on Tuesday.

“The principles are simple: if you lower rates, eliminate loopholes and simplify the corporate tax code, we can create opportunity for growth for American businesses, big and small,” Mr. Abney said.

Mr. Ryan is scheduled to continue his west coast tour at a Boeing site in Washington state on Thursday.

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