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 ThuneOvernight Tech: Senate panel subpoenaed ex-Yahoo chief | Twitter gives all users 280 characters | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | EU wants tax answers from Apple Overnight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny Former Yahoo CEO subpoenaed to appear before Congress 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 RodgersDemocrats expand House map after election victories The Hill's Whip List: Where Republicans stand on tax-reform bill Overnight Regulation: Trump pick for USDA job withdraws amid Mueller scrutiny | Powell tapped for Fed | Female GOP lawmakers offer paid leave plan | Feds launch program for drone deliveries 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 PaulGOP senator asks to be taken off Moore fundraising appeals Red state lawmakers find blue state piggy bank Prosecutors tell Paul to expect federal charges against attacker: report MORE (R-Ky.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottKey differences between the Senate and House tax plans Strange bedfellows on criminal justice reform could offer Trump a legislative win Senate GOP reveals different approach on tax reform MORE (R-S.C.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCNN to air sexual harassment Town Hall featuring Gretchen Carlson, Anita Hill Trump wrestles with handling American enemy combatants Flake: Trump's call for DOJ to probe Democrats 'not normal' MORE (R-S.C.).