After Health Care Flop, White House Seeks Help From Congress on Tax

(Reuters) -
Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a visit to Foster Supply Inc., March 25, in Scott Depot, W.Va. (Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch via AP)

Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday blamed the Congress for thwarting a Republican plan to overhaul healthcare law, but acknowledged that the White House will need to work with lawmakers to accomplish its next set of legislative plans.

Speaking to a group of small business owners in Charleston, West Virginia, VP Pence said President Donald Trump is ready to move on to his next priority: simplifying the tax code and cutting tax rates.

“We’re going to roll our sleeves up and we’re going to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses and family farms,” Pence said.

“Working with this Congress, President Trump is going to pass the largest tax cut since the days of Ronald Reagan, and we’re going to get this American economy moving again,” he said.

Comprehensive tax reform has eluded previous Congresses and administrations since 1986 when it was last accomplished under former President Ronald Reagan.

VP Pence made his comments the day after the Republican-controlled House of Representatives failed to find enough support within its own ranks to pass legislation to roll back Obamacare.

President Trump and Republicans had campaigned to overhaul former President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, which they have argued is too intrusive and expensive.

“As we all learned yesterday, Congress just wasn’t ready,” said Mr. Pence, who spent a dozen years in Congress starting in 2001, and has been a key emissary for President Trump on Capitol Hill.

“With 100 percent of House Democrats – every single one – and a handful of Republicans actually standing in the way of President Trump’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, we’re back to the drawing board,” Mr. Pence said.

On tax reform, Mr. Pence said Mr. Trump wants to cut the corporate tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent to spur investment.

The House of Representatives’ tax committee is working on legislation that would cut the corporate rate to 20 percent.

Vice President Pence said the White House also would seek to work with Congress to boost funding for the military, roll back regulations on the energy sector, and confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court.