WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans’ struggle to pass a health care bill is jeopardizing another one of President Donald Trump’s top priorities: overhauling America’s tax system.
A day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., delayed a vote on a bill to scrap much of Democrat Barack Obama’s health law, questions lingered about whether congressional Republicans could pass big, complicated pieces of legislation.
“The whole idea is to do health care first because you gain an advantage there to go on and do tax reform,” said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan. “We’ve sort of bollixed that up, but I’m encouraged.”
Senators were still struggling Wednesday to reach an agreement on key parts of the health bill before they leave Washington for a week-long recess. Moderates complained that too many people would lose coverage while conservatives said the bill wouldn’t do enough to lower insurance premiums.
It is important for Congress to resolve the health bill before moving on to a tax overhaul.
Here’s why: The health bill provides nearly $1 trillion in tax cuts that won’t add to the nation’s mounting debt. Republicans are counting on those tax cuts to help them write a new tax code that raises less money.
Also, Republicans are using a complicated rule that enables the Senate to pass both a health bill and a tax package with a simple majority, preventing Senate Democrats from blocking the legislation. Under the rule, Congress has to resolve health care — by either passing a bill or killing it — before lawmakers can pass a tax package.
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