Alexander and Corker on Trump and pending tax overhaul

Congressional Republicans involved in crafting a federal tax overhaul are bracing for President Trump to potentially disturb their negotiations at any moment, as he has done throughout his nine months in office and this week on a bipartisan Senate agreement to shore up Obamacare insurance markets, reports Politico.

“Sure, it’s going to come,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who’s been the target of his share of tweets from the president.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who brokered the health agreement that Trump has shifted between criticizing and praising, added that he had already told the president that his staying on track on tax reform could be key to getting a landmark achievement.

“If the president of the United States focuses on one thing, with everything he’s got, for as long it takes, he can usually get what he wants,” Alexander said.

Republicans believe everything is falling into place for the first major tax overhaul since 1986. They control Congress and the White House, members are motivated to notch a big legislative victory they can campaign on in 2018 and they are on the cusp of a bicameral budget agreement that would allow them to fully concentrate on a tax package instead of the Senate passing a budget.

But there are already signs that Trump could waver if a tax bill proposes to cut tax incentives in exchange for lower rates, a difficult process that could end up raising taxes on various industries or groups of taxpayers. The president was reportedly not happy that the GOP proposal to end the deduction for state and local taxes, a benefit largely used by upper-income taxpayers, would also hurt some in the middle class.

… The challenge ahead for tax writers is “actually coming up with” $4 trillion worth of tax breaks to eliminate, Corker said. “Otherwise, we don’t have tax reform.”

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