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GOP Unites on Tax Reform

As the GOP’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare died on Friday morning, a much larger, more united front emerged on tax reform.

Speaker Paul Ryan

On Friday morning, Democrats and liberals celebrated the failure of Obamacare repeal and replacement all over Twitter. Republicans, meanwhile, were already at work on their next priority, which they claim can jump-start a stagnant economy: tax reform.

White House officials released a joint statement with Senate and House leaders on their key beliefs heading in to tax reform:

We are all united in the belief that the single most important action we can take to grow our economy and help the middle class get ahead is to fix our broken tax code for families, small business, and American job creators competing at home and around the globe. Our shared commitment to fixing America’s broken tax code represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and so for three months we have been meeting regularly to develop a shared template for tax reform.

Importantly, the statement also indicated GOP leaders are dropping hopes of a border adjustment tax (BAT) to pay for tax reform. This means that lawmakers will have to find another way to pay for rate cuts, if tax reform is to be deficit-neutral.

Speaker Paul Ryan said that the House and Senate will do tax reform better than Obamacare repeal:

“We looked at healthcare and said let’s make sure that do tax reform better and differently, so we have had exhausting meetings — not exhausting, we’ve exhausted these points between all three branches, all three decision makers: Senate, House, White House,” Ryan told Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo. “We’ve had meeting after meeting after meeting to make sure we see it the same way and on common ground.”

So far, so good: this week, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), the Koch-backed Freedom Partners, the American Action Network (AAN), and the Business Roundtable have all released statements praising the general principles that the Trump administration, Ryan, and Senate GOP leaders are taking into the debate.

Whether Democrats work with Republicans to close loopholes and lower rates remains to be seen.