Trump takes on House GOP tax, health care plans
It came as news to most congressional Republicans, but turns out President-elect Donald Trump isn’t crazy about their tax plan and has a dramatically different goal for health coverage than they do.
On health care, he declared that his approach after repealing the Affordable Care Act is “insurance for everybody,” a tricky pledge that Republicans in Congress pointedly avoid. And, a key plank of the House Republican plan on overhauling the tax code is “too complicated,” according to Trump, who added: “I don’t love it.”
The president-elect’s assertions came in holiday weekend interviews published in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.
The comments went to the heart of the year’s top two legislative goals for congressional Republicans, both of which were shaping up as exceedingly heavy lifts even before the GOP businessman weighed in to throw doubt on key aspects of them.
Yet even though Trump has already shown he can force congressional Republicans to shift course with a tweet, his admonitions on taxes and health care seemed to stir only modest concern on Capitol Hill. Republicans appear to be growing accustomed to Trump’s unpredictable declarations, even when they directly counter the accepted GOP stance, while the lawmakers who deal with him the most insist that he’s more amenable in private than in public to the congressional agenda.
As a result, even while a growing number of House Democrats announce plans to sit out the inauguration in opposition to Trump, Republicans appear to be embracing the reality that they’ll have a fickle ally in the White House come Friday, one whom they hope will be generally supportive of their goals, if erratic along the way.
On health care, Republicans already have begun the process of repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law, still without agreeing on a replacement. The political risks are huge, underscored Tuesday by a report from the Congressional Budget Office confirming that premiums would skyrocket and 18 million people would join the ranks of the uninsured if Republicans repeal Obamacare without a replacement.
Meanwhile, Trump’s choice to head the Interior Department on Tuesday rejected the president-elect’s claim that climate change is a hoax, saying it is indisputable that environmental changes are affecting the world’s temperature and human activity is a major reason.
“I don’t believe it’s a hoax,” Rep. Ryan Zinke told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee at his confirmation hearing.