Thune: Tax reform action 'will depend entirely' on the White House

HERSHEY, Pa. — An overhaul of the tax system won’t get done this Congress unless President Obama and the White House “put their shoulder into it,” Senate Republican Conference Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneAviation panel recommends Trump roll back safety rules Overnight Regulation: House moves to block methane rule | Senators wrestle with allowing driverless trucks | EPA delays toxic waste rule Overnight Tech: Senate looks at self-driving trucks | Facebook to keep ads off fake news | House panel calls Equifax CEO to testify MORE (R-S.D.) said Thursday.

“I would like to mark bills up, but I think it will depend entirely on whether the White House wants to engage and really lean into it and put their shoulder into it,” Thune said at the joint House and Senate GOP retreat.

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“Because so far what we’ve seen is the White House, president have expressed an interest rhetorically on the issue of tax reform,” he continued. “But when push comes to shove, really engaging with Congress, we have not seen that.”

Thune, the No. 3 Republican leader in the Senate, said there was “great interest” from his party in reforming the tax code, arguing it would boost the economy and create jobs.

But he said the attitude from the White House was much different than when the Reagan administration pushed for tax reform in 1985 and 1986, when Thune was an aide on Capitol Hill.

“It was a very, very different time and a very, very different level of intensity,” Thune said.

Thune made his remarks at the first news conference of the Hershey summit alongside House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersPolitical decency may triumph despite Trump's DACA decision Ryan calls for 'permanent legislative solution' on DACA Harvey response puts squeeze on GOP MORE (R-Wash.). The two are co-hosting the retreat that Thune said is being attended by 47 of the 54 senators.

Among those missing were Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Lawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program MORE (R-Ky.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottWhy President Trump’s 'both sides' argument has merit GOP senator: 'There is no realistic comparison' between antifa and white supremacists Trump on white supremacists: ‘Pretty bad dudes on the other side also' MORE (R-S.C.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTop Louisiana health official rips Cassidy over ObamaCare repeal bill Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE (R-S.C.).