Republicans are saying that tax reform is a much more “natural fit” for the majority party than health care ever was.
“I believe it’s going to be far easier for us to do tax reform than it was, say, for health care reform,” Ryan said during a CNN town hall in August, saying there’s more consensus in the party around tax reform — that the Senate rules wouldn’t hinder the debate, as they did with health care.
But while Republicans are unified in their goal to cut taxes, there is still debate in the party about how deeply to cut rates and which deductions to get rid of — or whether to offset those changes at all. Already one of Ryan’s proposals to offset costs — the border adjustment tax, which would tax foreign imports and exempt exports, raising money because the US currently imports more than it exports — has been nixed amid widespread opposition among congressional Republicans.
Wednesday was a major step toward tax reform in the House. For months the conservative Freedom Caucus has been refusing to vote for the 2018 budget resolution, which Republicans must pass if they intend to pass tax reform with a simple majority instead of 60 votes in the Senate.
In anticipation of a tax plan that would be at odds with their conservative agenda, Freedom Caucus members said they needed details on a tax plan before voting to unlock the legislative pathway to its fruition. Apparently this nine-page outline of a tax plan, which left out many of the most crucial specifics, has assuaged their concerns for now.
With the budget now unlocked in the House, Republicans are certainly one step closer to making good on their promise to cut taxes. But Ryan’s optimism might be tempered going forward, because now committees have to hash out the actual details.