House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, R-Texas, isn’t committing himself to the White House’s timeline for negotiating tax reform before Congress’s August recess, then drafting a bill during the break for introduction in September.
While Brady said July 11 that he’d just finished “another productive meeting” with White House and Senate principals on tax reform, he remained noncommittal when the discussion turned to the White House’s desired timeline.
“We’re continuing to focus on 2017,” he told reporters when asked if a tax reform framework would be ready by the end of the month. “We’re going to let the discussions and the pace determine, sort of, the public releases on this.”
The day before, White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short said that the White House hopes to see a plan in place before the August recess so that legislators can begin the markup process when Congress returns.
In an email late July 10, White House spokesperson Natalie Strom explained, “We expect to have come to internal agreement on a framework for tax reform, so that legislation can be drafted during the August recess that we can roll out in early September.” Strom added that Short’s remarks were fully consistent with what administration officials — including National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — have been saying for months.
Brady said he is “pleased with the direction we’re going” on tax reform, but declined to go into detail, such as how he is defining the progress of tax reform talks and whether those involved in the discussions have begun deciding on specific provisions.
Brady also demurred on whether the House should emulate the July 11 decision by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to delay the August recess by two weeks.
“I’ll leave the scheduling to the leader,” Brady said, meaning House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. “My view is August is an important month to connect with our voters on tax reform.”
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