GOP Objective: Keep Focus on Obamacare

The GOP leadership has its priorities in order, and undoing Obamacare is priority number one. With the Affordable Care Act imploding by its own design and its support continuing to decline even among Democrats, Republicans are choosing not to interfere.

The party’s decision to isolate Obamacare’s self destruction is preventing some members of Congress, like chief tax writer Dave Camp (R-MI), from gaining traction to push legislation for a tax overhaul. Tax reform will have its day in the sun once more, but for now Republicans are smart enough not to create any Obamacare distractions.

“We don’t want to get in front of that train,” remarked one anonymous House Republican lawmaker. “That’s got to run its course.” Whereas Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Camp is convinced tax reform can be a winning issue for Republicans, he will have to understand that timing is crucial in politics.

At the start of 2013, tax reform was a major priority for Republican leadership. House Speaker John Boehner even designated tax overhaul as H.R.1, the first bill number for the new congress. Most likely, Republicans will address tax reform when the timing is right, although Camp says, “I’m not going to make a prediction” as to when. Camp feels Obamacare stories can’t last forever, but his chairmanship for the tax reform committee is expiring. 

In order to bolster his argument for tax reform now, the Michigan Congressman brought James Baker, former Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan, to help persuade Boehner and other lawmakers to take action on a tax overhaul. However, Baker conceded that now may not be optimal for undertaking tax legislation while Obamacare is attaining new lows and Obama is garnering low approval ratings. Attempting tax reform right now would be “impossible” and thus a “waste of time,” one lawmaker heard Baker say.


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