Making lifelong Democrat Gary Cohn the White House lead on tax reform was always a risky strategy. Democrats were unlikely to cooperate with the administration on anything and Republican lawmakers instinctively distrusted Cohn’s motives and positions.
What’s more, Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin are political neophytes, unaccustomed to the ways of Washington and not familiar with the positions staked out by various interest groups. Many in Washington do not see them as long-term players in politics, expecting them to exit the administration and national politics before the midterm elections, if not earlier.
This has made them vulnerable to being out-maneuvered by lobbyists, lawmakers, and other long term inhabitants of the nation’s capital.
Not surprising, then, that Republicans are already publicly balking at the supposed leadership of Cohn and Mnuchin:
Senate Republicans are making it clear they’re not going to fall in line behind President Donald Trump’s tax reform plan, despite a months-long effort with House leaders and top administration officials to have a smooth rollout for a major overhaul.
The proposal by the “Big Six” will only be advisory, warned Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah, himself a member of the group of top GOP lawmakers and administration officials. His Senate colleagues are following that up with plans to seek a $1.5 trillion tax cut, putting them at odds with the House, where Speaker Paul Ryan, another Big Six member, wants permanent changes that don’t add to the deficit.
The battle over tax reform will begin in earnest next week, when details of the initial Republican proposal are made public and lobbyists for various special interests launch their campaigns to shape the legislation.
“Next week, they open the kimono and that’s when the hurricane begins,” one veteran lobbyist told Breitbart News.