How the delayed health-care vote may also slow tax reform

Reuters


Sen. John McCain’s unexpected surgery is delaying a health-care vote and slowing down progress on tax reform as well.

Republicans wishing to move quickly on tax reform are looking at another delay, with the Senate’s health-care bill on hold due to Sen. John McCain’s unexpected surgery last week.

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans have been aiming to use savings from a health-care bill and apply it to tax breaks. Trump has said health care must come first “to pick up additional money so that we get great tax reform.”

The timing of a health vote is now uncertain with GOP leaders short of the votes they need to move ahead with their bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, can’t afford more than two defections among the 52 GOP senators, and two have already said they can’t support the bill.

See: McCain’s surgery will delay vote on Republican health-care bill.

“Chances of actually enacting tax reform this year, already slim, have suffered another blow because of the health-care delay,” said Greg Valliere, chief global strategist at Horizon Investments, in a note on Monday.

McConnell has said that a tax bill must be revenue-neutral. Passing a health bill that saves money and applying the savings could allow the tax cuts that Republicans and Trump are seeking. But that would require approving the health bill first and passing the tax bill later.

Analyst Henrietta Treyz of Veda Partners, meanwhile, says that lawmakers could get another chance for…

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