Mike Pence promises GOP will replace Obamacare by end of summer, pass 'tax cuts' this year

Key Points
  • Vice President Mike Pence says Republicans will pass an Obamacare replacement plan by the end of the summer.
  • He also promises that the GOP will pass "tax cuts" by the end of the year.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) 2017 Manufacturing Summit in Washington, Tuesday, June 20, 2017.
Carolyn Kaster | AP

Vice President Mike Pence promised Tuesday that Republicans will pass an Obamacare replacement plan by the end of the summer and "tax cuts" this year.

Those pledges form the foundation of a platform that President Donald Trump says will boost American economic growth and job creation. But the GOP-controlled Congress faces a packed legislative calendar this year and will have to overcome potential disagreements over what form its health-care and tax bills should take.

At the National Association of Manufacturers summit, Pence said he wanted to "assure" the audience that Trump and Congress will approve an Obamacare replacement plan "before this summer is over." The White House is working with the Senate to "move forward legislation in the very near future," he said.

Pence also promised that Republicans will pass "tax cuts" by the end of the year.

"We will get tax cuts done, and we will get them done this year," he said.

Republicans have faced hurdles in passing their agenda early in Trump's presidency. Last month, the House passed a heavily criticized Obamacare replacement bill after an earlier attempt to approve similar legislation failed.

Senators are now drafting their own Obamacare replacement plan — which has not been released publicly or to some GOP senators — and aim to vote before July 4. A passed bill would have to go back to the House before it could go to Trump to sign into law.

Pence said Republicans want to move on to slashing tax rates after they pass a health-care bill and stuck to the administration's pledge for a 15 percent corporate tax rate. The Trump administration has only released a one-page outline of its tax plan but is working with members of Congress on a joint plan.

Still, they face their share of hurdles.

Congress takes the month of August off. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is calling for lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling before the August recess, and Congress will also need to pass an appropriations bill.

It also remains to be seen how quickly Republicans can come to an agreement on a joint tax plan, and whether they will agree on full tax reform or just tax cuts.