President Donald Trump supports the framework for tax reform that the so-called Big Six will unveil Wednesday, according to two senior administration officials, cementing Republicans' pivot to tax reform following the demise of the health-care bill.
Trump has been an uncertain partner in advancing the GOP leadership's legislative agenda at times. He called one version of the Republican health care bill "mean;" stunned lawmakers — and his own Cabinet — by cutting a deal with Democrats to raise the nation's debt limit; and expressed sympathy for the undocumented children of illegal immigrants.
But on tax reform, several people who have spoken with Trump say the real estate mogul-turned president is deeply engaged. One person who dined with the president at the White House on Monday said he lit up when the conversation turned from the flailing Graham-Cassidy health-care bill to the path forward for taxes.
"The Republican failure so far on health care makes it more difficult for Republicans in Congress to screw up tax reform," the person recalled Trump saying. "He talked about health care a fair amount, but he was most animated by tax cuts, tax reform."
Having Trump's full backing will be crucial for Republican lawmakers in the coming months as they move beyond the broad brushstrokes of a plan and start negotiating difficult details, such as ways to raise revenue and which popular deductions to eliminate. The White House and House GOP leadership have insisted the new deadline for getting tax reform done is the end of the year.