White House budget director says Obamacare repeal could become an “impediment”

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If the repeal of Obamacare becomes “an impediment” to passage of the Senate tax plan, budget director Mick Mulvaney said in an interview on CNN (see below) that the provision could be dropped.

Mulvaney, head of the Office of Management and Budget, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, “I don’t think anybody doubts where the White House is on repealing and replacing Obamacare: We absolutely want to do it. If we can repeal part of Obamacare as part of a tax bill and have a tax bill that is still a good tax bill that can pass, that’s great. If it becomes an impediment to getting the best tax bill we can, then we’re OK with taking it out.”

White House legislative director Marc Short said the administration approves of the repeal because it would predominately affect taxpayers earning $50,000 a year or less.

“The White House is very comfortable with the House bill,” Short said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. (see below) “We also, though, believe the individual mandate is a tax, and it is harming middle-income families the most. So we like the fact that the Senate has included it in its bill.”

House Republicans passed their plan on Thursday afternoon, and later that night their colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee approved a different version that “postpones difficult questions as lawmakers rush to refashion much of the U.S. economy on the tight schedule demanded by President Donald Trump,” according to a report in Bloomberg on Sunday.

Some Republican senators, including Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Susan Collins of Maine, have said they can’t support the proposal as written.

“I haven’t reached that conclusion yet because I think there are going to be further changes,” Collins told George Stephanopoulos during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday morning. “And I hope that will be dropped, or that bills that have been introduced […] will be adopted to mitigate the impact of those provisions.”

Earlier this week, Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murphy, D-Wash., introduced legislation that would stabilize the individual healthcare insurance market after the Senate GOP tax bill went forward to include a repeal of the individual mandate, according to a report in The Washington Examiner.

In September, Collins broke with her party and opposed the so-called “skinny repeal,” sinking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Affordable Care Act repeal bill.

Some are worried the GOP tax bill’s Obamacare provision will sink the tax reform push.

The House bill, passed on a party-line vote, would lower the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent, shrink the number of individual tax brackets to four from seven, and scrap many popular tax breaks and deductions. Several Republicans from districts in high-tax states, including New York and New Jersey, voted against the plan.

Critics are also worried that both the Senate and House plans would drive up the federal budget deficit, despite assertions from the White House and many lawmakers that they would pay for themselves over time by increasing economic growth.

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