- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Republican congressional leaders on Wednesday said lawmakers plan to release a tax reform framework the week of Sept. 25, as President Trump urges Capitol Hill to get moving on the process.

“We will release a consensus document with the core elements of big, bold tax reform the week we return, September 25th,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady.

“Our timetable is still delivering this to the president’s desk this year,” Mr. Brady said.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said lawmakers in both Houses have been working to get on the same page with the White House so there’s not a repeat of the stalled Obamacare repeal efforts, when the House advanced a bill but the Senate couldn’t muster the votes to pass its own legislation.

“We don’t want to repeat that again,” Mr. Ryan said an at AP newsmakers event. “We do have to get this done.”

Mr. Trump has been urging lawmakers to get moving, saying the changes are needed even more in light of the recent hurricanes that have devastated Texas and Florida.

“With Irma and Harvey devastation, Tax Cuts and Tax Reform is needed more than ever before. Go Congress, go!” the president tweeted Wednesday.

Mr. Ryan and Mr. Brady both acknowledged that tax reform will ultimately be tied to the congressional budget process. Republicans need to pass a 2018 budget in order to unlock a fast-track tool they plan to use to potentially bypass a filibuster in the Senate, but conservatives have said they want more details on the GOP tax plan before they commit to voting for a budget.

The House Budget Committee advanced its plan over the summer, but Rep. Diane Black, the panel’s chairwoman, is still working toward getting it through the full House.

“I will say there are some people who want to know more details about the tax reform, and that will help to answer their questions,” said Mrs. Black, Tennessee Republican.

“Anytime you have this many members, there are questions that obviously need to be answered, and this was one of [them], and I think that may help to give some people more confidence that they can support the budget,” she said.

Mr. Trump is also talking with members of Congress of both parties this week to discuss a path forward on the issue.

Many Democrats, though, are warning Republicans not to pass a plan that’s geared toward providing tax cuts for the wealthy.

“We will not go along with a tax scheme to lavish the wealthy with lower rates or even more carve-outs or a plan that explodes the debt and the deficit,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat.

Mr. Ryan and Mr. Brady are part of a working group that’s been trying to craft a tax reform plan for months. The group released a statement of general principles on lowering rates and simplifying the code over the summer, but major details on where the rates will land and how to offset the resulting loss of revenue in the short run still need to be worked out.

The group also includes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and White House economic adviser Gary Cohn.

Mr. Brady said the president is “all in” on the effort.

“And not just tax cuts, [because] that gives us a temporary stimulus, but redesign the code so we can compete and win anywhere in the world, including here at home,” he said.

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