President Donald Trump predicted in an interview broadcast Thursday that passing tax reform through Congress will be a cakewalk.
“I think after health care, taxes are gonna be so easy,” Trump told CBN founder Pat Robertson on “The 700 Club.” “Health care is very hard. Health care’s hard because you’ll do something a little bit this way, and you’ll pick up that final vote and you lose four votes over here.”
Trump similarly thought repealing and replacing Obamacare would be easy, repeatedly promising throughout the campaign to sign legislation doing just that on the first day of his presidency, if elected.
“Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated,” he claimed after one month in office.
The president described the path to Obamacare repeal in the interview as a “very tiny little road that’s about two feet wide.” The House narrowly passed a repeal bill in May after its first effort stalled, putting the onus on the Senate, where leaders have struggled to craft a bill that could gain the support of 50 of the caucus’s 52 senators.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that he would delay the Senate’s August recess “to provide more time to complete action on important legislative items and process nominees that have been stalled by a lack of cooperation from our friends across the aisle.”
Senate Republicans are expected to release a new draft Obamacare repeal bill that includes a controversial amendment from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz that would allow the sale of cheap, deregulated insurance plans as long as Obamacare-compliant plans are still sold.
White House legislative affairs director Marc Short told reporters this week that “hopefully before the August recess is when we have” a tax reform plan “locked in place.”
“We would look to begin the markup process when we return from August recess,” he said.
The Trump administration unveiled its tax reform plan in late April, a one-page sheet that contained mostly general principles largely repackaged from the campaign.
“Our plan is we’re talking about massive tax cuts, the biggest tax cut in the history of our country,” Trump said in the interview. “We’re gonna give a tremendous tax cut for the middle class. We’re bringing it down to 10 percent. We’re bringing corporate taxes down to 15 percent. I hope we can get that number approved. You know, maybe they’ll want to do something and negotiate, but we will have — it’ll be, if we get what we want, it’ll be the biggest tax cut and the greatest tax reform in the history of our country.”
Trump praised House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), calling him “a great guy who really knows the subject” of taxes.
“He’ll never disappoint you,” Trump added. “So they’re, I think, really good. In the Senate, I think we’re gonna do very well. Again, like health care — this is simpler than health care, believe it or not — but like health care, I think we’re gonna get it done. And then I wanna go to infrastructure.”
Robertson then offered the president a prediction of his own. “If you get health care and tax reform,” he said, “you’re guaranteed another four years of office if you want it.”
“Well then,” Trump replied, “I’ll see you at the inauguration.”