House Republicans are now expressing real reservations about the Senate GOP’s ability to make things happen. This unrest unraveled quickly after the Republicans presented a united front when the president’s tax plan was released. There is a latent frustration in the party regarding the inability to repeal and replace ObamaCare, and now there is fear that the same thing might happen with tax reform.
“Donald Trump won with an electoral landslide, and his three big campaign points were ObamaCare repeal, tax reform, and border security. For a handful of senators to derail that agenda is very frustrating,” said Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas). Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), said colleagues are frustrated with a handful of senators “overruling the will of the entire House.”
“We do need to see them step up and actually deliver for a change. We have over 200 bills sitting stalled over there. They haven’t been able to deliver on [health care] reform, and they all ran on it, and now we have a do-or-die moment on tax reform,” Cole said.
The House GOP may believe that their colleagues in the Senate don’t feel the same pressure that they do to get results. The GOP majority in the Senate is perceived to be “safer” than in the House for the 2018 elections.
“They put our majority in jeopardy with their failure on health care, more than they did their own,” Cole said. The political map looks to favor the Senate GOP in 2018. They only have to defend nine seats next year, and only one of those seats, Nevada, is in a state that was won by Hillary Clinton. Democrats have to defend 20 seats, and 10 of them are in states won by Trump. In the race for seats in the House, Republicans have 23 districts to win that was carried by Clinton.
When Trump’s tax reform plan was presented to GOP leadership, there were standing ovations. But the mood shifted when Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) stood up to ask if the Senate could be counted on to pass tax legislation.
“A lot of House members trust a lot of senators to introduce their own tax reform bills,” joked Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), referring to how senators seek to show independence by offering their own bills. House Republicans say they can easily see GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), John McCain (Ariz.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), who all voted against a slimmed-down ObamaCare repeal bill in July, going against the leadership again.
“I do not understand what motivates John McCain,” King said. “I don’t know what goes on in the minds of folks from Maine.”
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is trying to soothe those who worry by making the case that Senate Republicans are more likely to come through on tax reform because McConnell and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has already negotiated a tax reform framework with the White House administration and House leaders.
“What we did differently in this go around is we spent the last four months basically working together, the Senate Finance Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee and the White House, making sure that we’re on the same page,” Ryan told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday morning.
Ryan communicated that leaders made sure they did “the hard lifting, the tough work ahead of schedule, ahead of rollout.”
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Credit: The Hill