President Trump says his plan is to revisit tackling health care before moving onto tax reform, saying the savings generated through efforts to repeal Obamacare are vital to the broader effort on taxes.
"We have to do health care first to pick up additional money so that we get great tax reform," Mr. Trump said in an interview that aired Wednesday on Fox Business Network. "So we're going to have a phenomenal tax reform, but I have to do health care first."
"I think we're doing very well on health care. It's been very much misreported that we failed with health care," he said.
"We haven't failed. We're negotiating, and we continue to negotiate," Mr. Trump said.
Republican leaders late last month abandoned a planned floor vote on the American Health Care Act, which repealed some of Obamacare's more unpopular mandates and taxes, due to a lack of GOP support.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the original legislation would reduce spending by some $1.2 trillion over the next decade, while reducing revenues by about $900 billion, for an overall reduction of $337 billion on federal deficits over the next 10 years.
"I want to do it first to really do it right, and after that, we're going to start on tax reform and infrastructure," Mr. Trump said of health care reform.
"Tax reform's going to be tough, but it won't be as tough as health care," he said. "Health care is very, very difficult."
Mr. Trump said he didn't want to set specific deadlines. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had earlier set a goal of getting tax reform passed by Congress's August recess.
"Health care's going to happen at some point," he said. "Now, if it doesn't happen fast enough, I'll start the taxes. But the tax reform and the tax cuts are better if I can do health care first."