After triumphal rollout for tax reform, GOP faces the reality of delivering


“I want it to be the right kind of a bill. I don’t want it to be some piece of crap, which we’re so used to around here,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (front). | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The GOP’s tax-reform efforts got a jolt of momentum this week, but Republicans also are getting a fresh reminder of how hard it will be to write a bill that makes it to President Donald Trump’s desk this year.

They will have a number of hurdles to grapple with in the coming months, including selling their new plan to the public, fleshing out the policy, wrangling the rank and file and dealing with the myriad competing interests that will deluge the Hill.

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Then there’s the Senate, the graveyard of Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), asked about the biggest challenges in turning the plan GOP leaders released this week into legislation, deadpanned: “Fellow senators.

“It’s mostly all complicated,” Hatch added, later noting: “I want it to be the right kind of a bill. I don’t want it to be some piece of crap, which we’re so used to around here.”

The first challenge: passing a budget. Republicans in both chambers are trying to line up votes on a budget next week, a crucial and difficult step for tax reform that they’ll have to tackle as they start wading into member concerns about what tax breaks might be on the chopping block.

The Senate Budget Committee looks ready to consider a framework that makes room for $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, while the full House is expected to take up its budget after months of delay in searching for the votes. If and when both chambers pass a budget, the House and the Senate would then have to reconcile their differences over spending targets and other potential obstacles.

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