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Odds Of Tax Reform In 2017 Lengthen With Defeat Of Obamacare Repeal

With the Affordable Care Act still on the books, Republican legislators will have a tougher time achieving their twin goals of cutting taxes and balancing the budget.


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Tax reform is a cherished goal of The Woodlands' Congressman Kevin Brady, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. The cost of that dream has just gone up, thanks to Republicans' failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

There were two major reasons Republican leaders sought to repeal Obamacare before tackling tax reform. The first was political. They'd been promising repeal for years. The second was financial.

"Repealing the Affordable Care Act would have cut government expenditures significantly," says Bruce McGovern, associate dean and an expert on tax law at South Texas College of Law Houston. "And that would have allowed for significant tax cuts in any tax reform. Leaving the Affordable Care Act in place means that those federal expenditures still have to be met, and that's going to make having tax cuts in any tax reform much more difficult or at least much more expensive."

Speaking on Fox News, Chairman Brady admitted the failure of the GOP health care bill makes his job harder. But he said he's determined to push ahead and hopes to pass a tax reform bill out of the Ways and Means Committee later this spring.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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