The chairman of the largest Republican caucus in the House of Representatives said Americans should be confident tax reform will pass, even though a repeal of Obamacare didn’t.
“We are not going to give up,” Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., told The Daily Signal in a Facebook Live interview, referring to repealing Obamacare.
“The House is going to continue to fight if we have to look at this piece by piece or bill by bill,” Walker said. “We are going to continue to fulfill the promise that we made last year, and even longer [ago] than that, to remove this huge legislative burden of what is Obamacare.”
Senate Republicans attempted to use a procedure known as budget reconciliation to dismantle Obamacare because they would need only 51 votes to pass a bill, and Vice President Mike Pence could break a tie.
In a July 28 Senate vote, three Republicans—Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and John McCain of Arizona—blocked what lawmakers dubbed the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare.
Walker, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said failing to act on tax reform is not an option.
“What happens to all of us if we don’t get this done?” Walker told The Daily Signal in the interview. “This is a promise that we ran on, many of us did over the last couple years, tax reform and repealing Obamacare. The Senate did not get it done for Obamacare, so at the very least this year [Congress] must get true, genuine tax reform accomplished.”
The last time Congress updated the tax code was in 1986, with President Ronald Reagan’s Tax Reform Act.
It calls for roughly doubling taxpayers’ standard deduction (an individual’s first $12,000 of income would become tax free, as would the first $24,000 for married couples), and condensing the current seven tax brackets to three.
Depending on their income, individual taxpayers currently may be taxed at one of these percentages: 10, 15, 25, 28, 33, 35, or 39.6. The three brackets in Republicans’ proposed framework are 12 percent, 25 percent, and 35 percent.
The framework would end personal exemptions for dependents, increase the child tax credit, and end the estate tax, which opponents call the death tax.
Walker said citizens should stay engaged and keep their lawmakers accountable to pass tax reform, just as they must to achieve repeal of Obamacare.
“The concern is real,” Walker said, adding:
In North Carolina alone, there are 94 out of 100 counties that are down to one [source of] insurance. This is not a talking point. There are people who are literally hurting with the ills that have been brought about by Obamacare. They need to stay concerned, they need to stay involved.