- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 29, 2017

Leaders of four of the United States’ top business advocacy groups are telling Congress to “move quickly” on tax reform, as lawmakers prepare for a weeklong July 4 break and another extended break in August.

“As the leaders of the nation’s preeminent business associations representing businesses of all interests, forms, and sizes in all 50 states, we urge you to reach common agreement on a tax reform plan and move quickly to enact tax reform legislation,” the business leaders wrote to top congressional leaders this week.

The letter was signed by Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Joshua Bolten, president and CEO of the Business Roundtable, Juanita Duggan, president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), and Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

“No initiative likely to be considered in this Congress offers more promise than comprehensive tax reform to accelerate out of the current pattern of slow economic growth,” they wrote.

Congressional Republicans have repeatedly said they’ll pass an overhaul to the tax code this year.

But they need to pass a 2018 budget in order to unlock a procedural tool, known as reconciliation, that would allow them to bypass a potential Democratic filibuster of a tax package in the Senate.

Negotiations over the 2018 blueprint have stalled in the House, though, with conservatives pushing for deeper spending cuts and committee chairmen looking to defend their own turf.

Republicans are also in the midst of their plans to repeal Obamacare, for which they’re using the 2017 budget process for reconciliation purposes to get around a lack of Democratic support.

The business leaders wrote that they understand the “competing priorities” in the 2018 budget process, “several with laudable purposes which we support.”

“We urge careful consideration of these matters to ensure that the timely passage of the budget resolution with tax reform reconciliation instructions is not threatened,” they wrote. “In our view, given the historic opportunity before Congress, no other reforms under consideration rise to the importance of pro-growth, comprehensive tax reform.”

The letter was addressed to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.

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