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Why Trump, Congress must shore up Obamacare

05 Agosto 2017, 09:47 | Bibiana Flor

Many Republicans have not shown support for Trump and refused to go though with this repeal because they felt the plan was vague and left no cushion if the bill were to be repealed.

As a first step Tuesday, the Senate confirmed former Justice Department lawyer Christopher Wray as the new Federal Bureau of Investigation chief, replacing James Comey, who was sacked by President Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, the majority leader fumed after Schumer and other Democratic leaders penned a letter that said they would work with Republicans on tax reform but had several non-negotiables.

Senator Roy Blunt (R-Miss.) was quick to deflect blame for his party's failure to come up with a substantive replacement to Obama's landmark health care initiative, the Affordable Care Act.

The same day the health care bill collapsed last week, the "Big Six" negotiators announced a very broad outline of what Republicans hope to achieve with a tax overhaul. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who chairs the main Senate panel that deals with health policy matters. But that is the plan, and McConnell has given the game away. (Don't believe me? Mitch McConnell, May 16: "It will have to be revenue neutral.") So that means, by process of elimination, that the unacceptable condition is the Democrats' insistence that tax reform not give rich people a net tax cut.


"What makes me optimistic is there is an intense desire for success, accelerated by the loss on health care, to push this one across the finish line", he said.

While the party never really coalesced around an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, every Republican in Congress supports tax cuts.

The group's proposal includes mandatory funding for cost-sharing reduction payments; the creation of a stability fund; a repeal of the medical device tax; and to raise the threshold of the employer mandate so that companies with 500 employees or more, rather than 50, are required to provide workers with health insurance.

Republicans controlling Congress are gearing up to advance their tax measure this fall, promising to lower rates on businesses and individuals, while clearing out many tax breaks and deductions.

But, the prospect of a bipartisan bill this time fizzled quickly earlier this week. Most of the movement toward the Democratic side of the ballot was driven by independents: 34 percent said they'd vote for a Democrat, up 4 points from last week, while 25 percent said they'd opt for a Republican, down 4 points. Ted Cruz of Texas appeared confident Republicans would pass a health care bill in the end. Overhauling the tax code? Under reconciliation, Republicans could approve tax reform using their narrow Senate majority, bypassing Democrats entirely.


"A word of caution: I think the same thing will happen on tax reform if they try to follow this same model (as health care)", McCaskill said in a recent call with Missouri reporters. Dean Heller, R-Nev. while speaking during a luncheon GOP leadership, Wednesday, July 19, 2017, in the State Dinning Room of the White House in Washington.

Already, staff is working on draft legislation.

As for the middle class, Republicans say they want to simplify the code for the average tax filer and offer middle-class tax relief of some kind. And, because the bill passed with enough votes to override a presidential veto, Trump had little choice but to sign it, which he did in private, without the customary presence of a bill's sponsors and the press. They'll face voters back home who have cause for frustration about an unproductive Congress led by a party given over to infighting.

As the USA stock market hit a new all-time high Wednesday, key US lawmakers staked out core positions for a looming battle that could impact economic performance for decades: reforming America's complicated and much-maligned tax system.




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