Ryan projects House will pass tax bill by early November
© Camille Fine

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.) offered an ambitious timeline on Monday for when Congress will enact tax reform this year, starting with House passage of a bill in the next month.

Ryan predicted in an interview with Milwaukee radio station WTMJ that tax overhaul legislation would pass in the House by “early November” and make it through the Senate to President Trump’s desk by the end of December.

Formal legislation to reform the tax code has not yet been released.

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The House adopted a budget resolution earlier this month to unlock budgetary rules known as reconciliation so that Republicans can pass tax reform and circumvent a Democratic filibuster in the Senate.

Ryan expressed optimism that Republicans would have more success with tax reform than with their failed efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 health-care law.

Ryan outlined three reasons why the GOP has a better shot at passing tax reform than they did with ObamaCare repeal.

He maintained that Republicans tend to agree more generally on tax principles; the White House and top House and Senate leaders released a tax reform blueprint; and the reconciliation process will allow Republicans to accomplish all of their goals on a tax overhaul in one bill, in contrast to the health-care effort.

Multiple GOP health-care proposals, such as selling insurance plans across state lines and medical liability reform, could not be included in the reconciliation measure due to Senate budget rules. That frustrated GOP lawmakers who could only consider those proposals in legislation that would be subject to Senate filibusters.

“So the procedure and the process is much more direct and streamlined. Republicans are more in agreement on how to do it. And we pre-agreed with the House, the Senate and the White House at the front end of this on how to do it. And that’s where we stand and that’s why we’re on track,” Ryan said.

The Speaker acknowledged that Republicans, by contrast, don’t hold widespread views on health-care policy, despite unified opposition to ObamaCare for seven years.

“Frankly, Republicans with each other didn’t necessarily agree on how to do health care,” Ryan said.

The Senate is expected to consider its version of the budget this week. The two chambers’ budgets will have to be reconciled before the GOP can use reconciliation on tax reform.

Once Republicans in both chambers of Congress agree on a budget, the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee is expected to release legislative text that adheres to its revenue outlines.

Tax legislation would then go through the Ways and Means Committee before reaching the House floor for a vote.

Ryan’s projection of House passage by early November puts lawmakers on a tight schedule.

The House is not in session this week and GOP leaders allowed members to depart Washington a day early last week following passage of a $36.5 billion aid package for Puerto Rico and other areas afflicted by recent natural disasters. Lawmakers won't be back at the Capitol until next Monday.

Ryan previously offered ambitious timelines for when Republicans would pass legislation to repeal and replace the health-care law that never came to fruition.

At the start of this year, Ryan expressed a goal of wanting to pass a health-care bill by Trump's 100th day in office at the end of April.

When that didn’t happen, Republicans later aimed for clearing legislation by the August recess. The House did pass a repeal-and-replace bill in May, but the Senate was unable to approve its own version.

In the end, the reconciliation vehicle Republicans intended to use for a health-care overhaul expired at the end of fiscal 2017 in September.