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If GOP tax reform doesn't get done, 2018 elections will be 'very ugly,' says former Bush aide

  • Tax reform will be difficult, but Republicans have no choice but to get it done, said Sara Fagen, former senior aide to President George W. Bush.
  • "Republicans cannot present themselves on a ballot next November and not have any major legislative accomplishment," she said.
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan has said Congress "really can" get it done this year.

Tax reform will be difficult, but Republicans have no choice but to get it done, a former senior aide to President George W. Bush told CNBC on Thursday.

The Republican tax proposal, unveiled Wednesday, calls for a reduction in the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent, collapses the current seven personal income tax brackets to three and doubles the standard deduction for individual taxpayers.

"It has to get done. Republicans cannot present themselves on a ballot next November and not have any major legislative accomplishment," Sara Fagen said in an interview with "Power Lunch."

"If they don't get this done, it's going to be a very ugly November 2018 and every Republican member of Congress knows that."

After Republicans swept into office this year, they made their first priority the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. However, they failed to get enough votes to secure passage on any of their bills.

However, GOP leaders are confident they will overhaul the tax system. House Speaker Paul Ryan told CNBC on Thursday Congress "really can" get it done this year.

Fagen, a partner at DDC Advocacy and a CNBC contributor, says the chances are high that tax reform will be accomplished but it will likely stretch into next year.