Ryan confident on tax reform after GOP releases principles

Ryan confident on tax reform after GOP releases principles
© Greg Nash

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAppeals court rules House chaplain can reject secular prayers FEC filing: No individuals donated to indicted GOP rep this cycle The Hill's Morning Report - Waiting on Mueller: Answers come on Thursday MORE (R-Wis.) expressed optimism that Congress would be able to pass tax reform legislation after he, other congressional leaders and the White House released shared tax principles this week.

"I feel much more confident that we're going to stick the landing on tax reform because we have now said we have consensus, here's the framework, let's go get it done," Ryan told Maria Bartiromo in an interview that aired on Fox Business Friday.

The Fox Business interview was taped Thursday afternoon, before the Senate rejected the scaled-back ObamaCare repeal bill — a major blow in the GOP's efforts to do away with the healthcare law.

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Ryan said that Republicans have more agreement on tax reform than on healthcare.

"There's not a complete consensus on how best to do healthcare reform," he said. "On tax reform, we have that consensus."

Ryan is part of a group of GOP lawmakers and administration officials known as the "Big Six," which released a joint statement on tax reform on Thursday.

The statement announced that policymakers were going to set aside Ryan's border-adjustment proposal to tax imports and exempt exports. Ryan had argued that it would end incentives for companies to move jobs overseas. But the proposal had been controversial, with retailers, conservative groups and other lawmakers arguing that it would amount to a tax on consumers.

Ryan told Fox Business that it was important to take the border-tax proposal off the table in order to allow lawmakers to move forward on tax reform.

"I still think it's the way to go. I still think that's the right kind of tax reform plan. But if it's going to stop us getting to consensus to get tax reform done, then we don't want that to happen, meaning the border adjustment," he said.

The border-adjustment proposal was estimated to raise about $1 trillion to help pay for lowering tax rates.

Ryan said that lawmakers will need to find revenue somewhere else, and suggested that additional revenue could be found by broadening the tax base and eliminating tax preferences for special interests. He also noted that they plan to use "dynamic" revenue estimates that take into account the economic effect of tax changes.

The Trump administration has set a goal of economic growth of 3 percent. Ryan said that tax reform is needed to reach that objective.

"I don't think we can get to 3 percent growth without tax reform," he said.