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House and Senate ideas for cutting taxes on individuals are not ready for prime time, but GOP lawmakers are plowing forward anyway because of politics, Republican Judd Gregg told CNBC on Friday.
On the corporate side, however, the former U.S. senator and governor from New Hampshire said he supports moves to provide relief to American companies.
"The individual side is chaos. And the corporate side is tax reform," Gregg argued during a "Squawk Box" interview, saying if he were still in the Senate he would have tried to squash the individual cuts. But in the political current environment, he acknowledged, that approach is "not viable."
"We are in a period what I call 'survivor politics,'" said Gregg, co-chairman of the Fix the Debt campaign. "Republicans know they're in deep trouble. And if they don't do something and fairly quickly and have it be reasonably substantive, they're going to get torched in the next election."
Republicans can "posture" their tax cut for individuals as reform to woo voters, but it's anything but that. "In the end, it's just a shuffling of cards. It's going to take a number of people off the tax rolls. But it's not a significant improvement in the way we tax people. It's not tax reform."
While he is critical of combining tax cuts for Americans and U.S. corporations, Gregg believes an overall deal will get done: "They are making a deal. It's never pretty. They will reach an agreement. There's no doubt about that."
Lawmakers in the House and Senate are beginning the process of crafting a compromise bill after both chambers passed separate versions of tax legislation. Republican leaders on Capitol Hill and President Donald Trump have said they want the overhaul signed into law by Christmas.