White House press secretary Sean Spicer hinted that President Donald Trump's promise to overhaul the U.S. tax code may come around late spring.
He stuck closely to the president's commitment of moving Obamacare repeal through Congress before tackling any other major legislative agenda. "We are going to have tax reform after we get healthcare completed… I think we are looking at late spring to summer," Spicer said Sunday to the Irish Independent newspaper.
Health care reform is proving to be a formidable challenge for Republicans, as party divisions are surfacing over nearly every aspect of the bill.
There are 22 House Republicans wavering on the American Health Care Act. Only 430 seats in the House are currently filled, of which 237 are Republican-held. For the AHCA to pass the House, it will need to get 216 votes.
It is not entirely clear how the 22 GOP representatives on the fence will vote. A preliminary poll by CNN reported that 19 Republican House members were leaning against the bill as it stands. Republicans can only afford to lose 21 votes for the bill to pass and get on its way to the Senate.
As it stands, Republicans plan to vote on their Obamacare repeal bill Thursday.
The president has promised to deliver large tax cuts for the middle class and for small businesses. He also pledges to slash the corporate tax rate and substantially change the number of deductions and tax loopholes available to the wealthy.
If Spicer's statement Sunday is illustrative of the president's current stance, it appears tax reform could come even earlier than what Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin originally promised in February. Mnuchin promised in late February that we would see "very significant" tax reform by Congress's August recess.
The business community, however, is not as optimistic about seeing tax reform this year. Out of 1,000 business, tax, and financial executives surveyed by KPMG, only 16 percent expect tax reform to pass in 2017, Reuters reports.
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