Next week: Ryan starts to sell tax reform

House Speaker Paul Ryan next week will make an effort to sell the country on the need for tax reform, even though Congress could still be weeks or even months away from voting on a plan.

Ryan, R-Wis., plans a major tax policy speech before the National Association of Manufacturers on Tuesday.

“While he’s not expected to lay out intricacies of the Republican plan, he will talk about what tax reform looks like, not just the benefits,” an aide said.

Tax reform is so far an unfinished piece of business for Republicans. Lawmakers continue to hold strategy sessions with Trump administration officials, but there is no imminent plan and no scheduled vote on tax reform.

In the meantime, the House will vote next week on a bill aimed at facilitating faster construction of water storage projects and will consider legislation that would improve the reliability of the electric grid. House lawmakers will also consider the Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act, which is sponsored by Reps. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fl., and Danny Davis, D-Ill, and would connect the unemployed with job openings, including those that come with apprenticeships and other forms of on-the-job training.

Just as House lawmakers are still working behind the scenes on taxes, Senate lawmakers are still trying to hammer out a deal on how to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Senate Democrats, who have refused to participate in healthcare talks unless Republicans ditch their plan to repeal Obamacare, threw an intriguing invitation to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Friday. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., sent a letter to McConnell to invite Republicans to an all-senator meeting on healthcare.

“Our healthcare system affects every single American and one-sixth of our economy,” Schumer wrote to McConnell. “We believe we all owe it to our constituents to meet to discuss your potential legislation that would profoundly impact so many American lives.”

McConnell aides did not commit to a meeting. A spokesman, David Popp, noted that Democrats have long refused to hold bipartisan talks.

“Their letter earlier this year noted that they were not prepared to meet with Republicans on solutions until repeal was off the table,” Popp said. “Now that Obamacare is continuing to implode, they’ve apparently dropped that precondition for discussions. I can only assume this means they are now open to repeal — that is a great first step.”

Popp said the GOP would “welcome ideas” from the Democrats.

While Republicans had targeted a July 4 deadline to pass a Senate bill, that date appears to be slipping away as only two legislative weeks remain until the holiday. Republicans have not found agreement on what to do about Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion or how to distribute tax credits for health insurance.

“Nothing is written,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said late last week.

Elsewhere, the two chambers will begin to tackle trade policy at dual hearings on President Trump’s plan scheduled in Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means panel.

“As the United States looks to sell more American products and services across the globe, our focus should be on opening new markets for our exporters and protecting intellectual property rights to help maintain the United States’ competitiveness abroad,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

And finally, the Senate will also continue voting on lower-level Trump administration nominees, beginning Monday with a vote to confirm Brock Long to serve as administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Senate will also vote on advancing Sigal Mandelker to be undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes and Marshall Billingslea, of Virginia, to be assistant secretary for Terrorist Financing, Department of the Treasury.

This post originally appeared on Washington Examiner

.

Leave a Reply