Budget

Ryan Says He Won’t Be Rushed on Health Care

Speaker Paul Ryan told GOP lawmakers “that they plan to devote their energy this week to keeping the federal government open, conspicuously avoiding an immediate commitment to take up health care despite pledges to do so by conservatives and the White House,” the Washington Post reports.

“Ryan added that the House will vote on a health-care bill when Republicans are sure they have the support to pass it.”

Axios: “There’s been a lot of talk about a health care vote this coming week, but leadership won’t be rushed by some arbitrary timeline — a big lesson Ryan’s office took from the failure of the first health care bill.”

The White House May Be Screwing Up Tax Reform

Playbook: “Republicans have been promising to repeal and replace Obamacare for almost a decade. But if they jam an Obamacare bill through the House, it could seriously complicate their chances for tax reform. Why? Because they are using reconciliation — a budgetary tool — to gut Obamacare. And if they are successful at passing the repeal with reconciliation, they’d need to pass another budget to allow them to begin tax reform. Do you think passing a 2018 budget will be easy? No. It will be very difficult. And that’s basically the only way for Congress to pass a tax-reform bill. White House insiders say this obvious — and critical — dynamic hasn’t been discussed much.”

“Despite all of that, the White House seems hell bent on trying to push through a health care package when Congress returns. And in a city that rarely can walk and chew gum at the same time, Trump’s decision to announce that he would unveil of his tax plan next week in the middle a government shutdown fight is aggressive, to say the least. At worst, it could hurt his support among Republican lawmakers frustrated by the lack of direction from the White House.”

Trump Is Wildcard In Spending Fight

President Trump “has emerged as the wildcard as congressional leaders clamber to reach agreement on a package to keep the government funded and prevent a shutdown,” The Hill reports.

“Republican leaders are keenly aware which ‘poison pill’ provisions are non-starters with the Democrats, whose votes will be needed to send a spending bill to the president. But Trump, who is closing in quickly on his first 100 days in office, is hungry for legislative victories after a rocky start that included the stunning failure of the Republicans’ Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill.”

For members: Trump Sets Himself Up for a Double-Fail on Day 100

White House Seems Excited About a Shut Down

Ryan Lizza: “While the potential for a government shutdown has been overshadowed by other events — Syria, North Korea, the attempted repeal of Obamacare — the Trump White House is suddenly seized with the issue.”

Said a top White House official: “Next week is going to have quite high drama. It’s going to be action-packed. This one is not getting as much attention, but, trust me, it’s going to be the battle of the titans. And the great irony here is that the call for the government shutdown will come on—guess what?—the hundredth day. If you pitched this in a studio, they would say, ‘Get out of here, it’s too ridiculous.’ This is going to be a big one.”

Trump Will Unveil Tax Plan Next Week

President Trump told the AP that businesses and individuals will receive a “massive tax cut” under a tax reform package he plans to unveil next week.

He said the package will be released on “Wednesday or shortly thereafter” — just before his 100 day mark in office.

Jonathan Swan: “Don’t expect to see anything like a fully fledged tax plan. We bet it’ll be a 100,000 foot document, with no real path for how to get there — just targets.”

Mattis Privately Tells Lawmakers Budget Not Enough

“Defense Secretary James Mattis has privately told Congress the Trump administration’s Pentagon budget request isn’t sufficient to cover the cost of rebuilding the military as President Trump has vowed to do,” CNN reports.

“Mattis is not publicly raising concerns about the $603 billion Pentagon budget plan, aligning himself with the White House’s decision, though it’s a stance that’s sparking frustration from some Republican defense hawks in Congress.”

White House Demands Disrupt Shutdown Negotiations

“Congressional leaders’ efforts to hatch a massive spending deal have been thrown off course by the Trump administration’s 11th-hour intervention, leaving the bipartisan bill teetering on the brink of collapse just a week before a government shutdown deadline,” Politico reports.

“The hard line taken by White House officials, particularly OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, has strained an emerging deal between House and Senate leaders that would skirt hot-button issues that could shut down the government. In particular, administration officials’ hopes of giving President Trump a win during his first 100 days, such as border wall funding or a crackdown on sanctuary cities, have complicated what had been a relatively smooth, bicameral, bipartisan negotiation.”

The AP quotes Mulvaney: “We want wall funding. We want (immigration) agents. Those are our priorities… We know there are a lot of people on the Hill, especially in the Democratic Party, who don’t like the wall, but they lost the election.”

Trump Will Not Pay for Proposed Tax Cuts

“The Trump Administration has no plans to pay for its proposed tax cuts, according to revealing comments made Thursday by top White House officials Gary Cohn and Steve Mnuchin at an Institute of International Finance conference. There will be no border adjustment tax — the trillion-dollar hike on imports raised in Paul Ryan’s plan — nor any other big new revenue generators,” Axios reports.

“Both Cohn and Mnuchin said economic growth would be the primary way to pay for corporate and individual tax cuts, while fewer deductions and tax simplification would also play roles. It is not an opinion that is widely shared by on Capitol Hill, including among Republicans.”

White House Takes Harder Line in Shutdown Talks

Politico: “The White House, under internal pressure to show legislative achievements ahead of the 100-day mark, is gearing up for a government-shutdown fight to secure money for a border wall, more immigration enforcement officers and a bigger military, according to White House and congressional sources familiar with the plan. It is a risky gambit. With almost uniform Democratic opposition to nearly all of the Trump administration’s spending proposals, the fight could lead to a government shutdown next Friday — the day government spending expires, and right before the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency. Officials could also strike a one-week compromise, giving them more time for a broader agreement.”

“Congressional Republicans, desperately looking to avoid a shutdown scare, are eyeing a modest increase for border security – perhaps an increase in funding for surveillance technology – and a small uptick in military spending. But two senior White House officials say they want a bigger win out of the fight, and an important deadline might help.”

Politico: 5 reasons the government might shut down.

Cohn Warms to Killing State and Local Tax Deduction

“Gary Cohn has privately said he’s warming to the idea of eliminating the local and state tax deduction to pay for tax cuts and simplify the code, according to sources familiar with the thinking of president’s top economic advisor. Cohn’s private comments must be considered with a caveat: no final decisions have been made, and the administration’s tax reform plans are still a long way from prime time,” Axios reports.

“The White House needs a ton of money to pay for corporate, individual and small business tax cuts (not to mention the ‘Ivanka credit’ for childcare.) Getting rid of these state and local deductions is a dream Republicans have long held and would raise an estimated $1 trillion over 10 years.”

Can Trump Avoid a Government Shutdown?

Playbook: “If you hadn’t heard — or somehow forgot — the government shuts down in 10 days. And the conversation brewing at the top levels on Capitol Hill is: will Republicans be successful at forcing Trump to fulfill a campaign promise in this must-pass bill, or will Trump have to work with Democrats to keep government open? Government-funding bills are always tough these days, and conservatives are going to want to extract some blood in exchange for their vote. Options conservatives are buzzing about: border wall funding, stripping money from sanctuary cities, defunding Planned Parenthood. But Democrats have power here, and can exert it to force Trump to ditch his right flank, and advocate for a clean spending bill. That will be quite the political pickle for the president.”

“The House Freedom Caucus — which has the numbers to dictate the debate on the right — will brawl for border funding, in some shape or form. That’s unlikely to fly in the Senate.”

Trump’s Unreleased Tax Returns Threaten Tax Reform

President Trump’s “promise to enact a sweeping overhaul of the tax code is in serious jeopardy nearly 100 days into his tenure, and his refusal to release his own tax returns is emerging as a central hurdle to another faltering campaign promise,” the New York Times reports.

“As procrastinators rushed to file their tax returns by Tuesday, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, emphasized again on Monday that Mr. Trump had no intention of making his public. Democrats have seized on that decision, uniting around a pledge not to cooperate on any rewriting of the tax code unless they know specifically how that revision would benefit the billionaire president and his family.”

“And a growing roster of more than a dozen Republican lawmakers now say Mr. Trump should release them.”

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Financial Times that getting tax reform legislation to Trump by August is unlikely.

GOP Eyes ‘Candy Option’ for Tax Reform

Jonathan Swan: “As full-blown tax reform looks more and more like an unreachable stretch, there’s increasing conversation on the Hill about what’s being called a ‘candy option’ — all the goodies, with none of the pain.”

“That would mean lower personal and corporate rates, plus some limited repatriation, funded largely by deficit spending.”

“Speaker Ryan is still determined to go as big as possible and do real tax reform. But the White House needs to buy into it and get right behind it. Otherwise there’ll be the same disaster as healthcare.”

Trump Refocuses on Health Care Ahead of Tax Reform

Wall Street Journal: “Mr. Trump signaled last week that one of the reasons he has reprioritized health care is that he was relying on savings from the health bill to bolster the tax plan.”

“The budget reality isn’t that straightforward. Budgetary savings from a health bill don’t get plowed into the tax bill, so the lack of a health bill wouldn’t necessarily change the tax-bill math. There is also no requirement that the health bill come first. But the two pieces of legislation are interrelated because the GOP health bill would eliminate discrete taxes created as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, smoothing the process of passing a broader tax overhaul.”

David Nather: “Trump seems determined not to give up on the health care bill, so House Republicans keep plugging away in a desperate search for an agreement. As long as that continues, tax reform can’t move ahead.”