A public feud between President Donald Trump and influential fellow Republican Bob Corker could narrow the path for a tax overhaul in the US Senate, where a Republican go-it-alone effort is already showing signs of disunity.
Days after the Republican-controlled Congress took important steps towards advancing tax legislation, Trump’s Twitter attacks on Senator Corker over the weekend threatened to further alienate the president from other key Republicans such as Senator John McCain, whose “No” vote was pivotal in the party’s failure to repeal Obamacare in July.
Although a foreign policy specialist, Corker is also a key player in the tax debate.
He helped the Senate move closer to legislation by agreeing to a budget resolution that would allow tax reforms to reduce government revenue by up to $1.5 trillion over a decade, but he wants savings elsewhere and has vowed not to vote for a tax package that adds to the federal deficit.
Republicans hope Corker will ultimately vote for tax reform in hopes of boosting economic growth. But Trump’s tweets do not help, especially now that Corker has decided against seeking re-election next year and is free to vote whichever way he wants without having to face voters again.
Republicans are desperate to push through tax reform, seeing it as their last good chance to get a major legislative victory in the first year since 2006 that the party has controlled the White House and both chambers of Congress.
Trump and top Republican lawmakers have unveiled a plan to slash taxes for businesses and individuals.