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 ThuneHillicon Valley: Mnuchin urges antitrust review of tech | Progressives want to break up Facebook | Classified election security briefing set for Tuesday | Tech CEOs face pressure to appear before Congress Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Post-Zuckerberg, tech CEOs under pressure 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.

“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 RodgersMillennial GOP lawmakers pleased with McMorris Rodgers meeting on party messaging The Hill's Morning Report: Trump’s Cabinet mess McMorris Rodgers seeks to tamp down unrest 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 PaulSarah Sanders: ‘Democrats are losing their war against women in the Trump administration’ Kentucky Dems look to vault themselves in deep-red district Overnight Defense: Senate confirms Haspel as CIA chief | Trump offers Kim 'protections' if he gives up nukes | Dem amendments target Trump military parade MORE (R-Ky.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottSenate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Fed nominees vow to rebuff pressure from Trump on interest rates The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-S.C.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Graham: Trump will 'end North Korea’s threat to the American homeland' in his first term Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers weigh in after Texas school shooting MORE (R-S.C.).