WASHINGTON, April 3 The Texas Republican
spearheading tax reform efforts in the U.S. House of
Representatives will meet with Democrats to discuss policy
ideas, as Republicans try to secure a victory for President
Donald Trump after his healthcare bill's failure.
House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady said the
meeting with his panel's 16 Democratic members will focus on
ways to simplify the U.S. tax code for individuals and stop U.S.
companies from moving production and research facilities
overseas - both key House Republican tax reform objectives.
"At the end of the day, I don't want to make a prediction as
to where that goes. But I think this engagement's important,"
Brady told reporters on Monday. "I'd love to have them bring
their ideas on how we leapfrog America back into the lead as the
most competitive place on earth for that new business."
The meeting is expected to take place on Wednesday,
according to House aides.
A spokesman for Ways and Means Democrats had no immediate
Brady said the meeting has nothing to do with the healthcare
debacle on March 24, when the Republican-controlled House pulled
legislation to repeal and replace the healthcare law known as
Obamacare when it became clear that Republicans would fall short
of the votes needed. Trump blamed the failure on hardline
Republican conservatives who opposed the bill and threatened to
reach out to Democrats.
But the Trump administration has signaled an interest in
finding bipartisan support for tax reform legislation, billed as
the first comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. tax code since
The White House has also shown signs of moving away from the
House tax reform blueprint backed by Brady and House Speaker
Paul Ryan, informing Republican lawmakers on March 16 that all
options were on the table.
The House blueprint, which Democrats oppose, calls for
sweeping changes and tax cuts that would mainly benefit the
wealthy. But it has divided the business community and
Republicans over a border adjustment tax provision that would
impose a 20 percent tax on imports while exempting export
revenues from tax.
White House officials told lawmakers last month that they
were seriously considering other options, including
deficit-funded tax cuts and a European-style value-added tax for
Brady expects to unveil tax reform legislation this spring,
with a full House vote as early as the summer.
(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Leslie Adler)