Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters Monday that Republicans plan to tackle a tax overhaul in the spring of 2017.
The Senate will use the procedural process known as budget reconciliation, which only requires 51 votes to pass in the Senate, to undertake the tax overhaul. While Republicans will use the first budget resolution in January to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the second will be used in the spring to cut taxes.
“We will do one later in the spring, which will largely be dedicated to tax reform.” McConnell told reporters. “So they’ll be two, and they will set up reconciliation follow on vehicles for us to address two very important issues the President-elect talked about and we all care about. “
McConnell said that the single biggest reasons jobs move overseas is that the U.S. tax structure “makes it very difficult in many instances to stay here.”
McConnell’s comments give a strong indication of where the GOP’s priorities are at the moment with President-elect Trump. While House Republicans like HHS nominee Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) had hinted earlier this fall that a second budget reconciliation might include plans to overhaul Medicare. McConnell’s message appears to be that a tax overhaul will come before Medicare changes.
In the Senate, there has been far more appetite to take on a tax overhaul rather than change Medicare. Senate Republicans have tried to play down any interest in changing the elderly health care program.
McConnell also voiced skepticism that a multi-trillion dollar infrastructure bill was a good idea or use of the GOP’s time and resources, which could be a departure from Trump who has said infrastructure is a top priority.