OMB's Mulvaney says admin. wants tax bill to pass with or without repeal of Obamacare mandate

Mick Mulvaney on tax bill

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney says the Trump administration wants the best possible tax bill that can pass both the House and Senate regardless of whether or not it includes language that repeals a key mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

"I think at the end of the day, John, what we're interested in is the best tax bill that can pass. If a good tax bill can pass with that Obamacare mandate repeal as part of it, great. If it needs to come out in order for that good tax bill to pass, we can live with that as well," Mulvaney said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday.   

Targeting the mandate in the tax legislation would save an estimated $338 billion over a decade that could be used to help pay for deep cuts in corporate tax rates and other tax benefits under the plan, according to congressional experts. 

Without being forced to get coverage (or pay a penalty if they don't), fewer people would sign up for Medicaid or buy federally-subsidized private insurance.

But congressional experts say it is expected that millions of Americans would forgo coverage if the requirement that Americans get health insurance is repealed, gambling that they themselves won't get sick and boosting premiums for others.

Chair of the Senate Finance Commitee, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said last week that the Obamcare fines on those who choose to go without coverage amount to a tax on working people.

"It's a terribly regressive tax that imposes harsh burdens on low- and middle-income taxpayers," said Hatch. 

Hours after the House Republicans passed a tax bill Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee approved its tax bill, pushing it closer to a full vote on the Senate floor.

The Finance Committee approved the bill along party lines, 14-12, with not one Democrat voting for it. Like the House measure, it would slash the corporate tax rate and reduce personal income tax rates for many.

Meanwhile, Mulvaney called scoring of the tax plan by experts, including the Congressional Budget Office, "arcane" and "broken."

"It's very difficult to model a $20 trillion American economy. It's very difficult to even make the argument that if I sold 100 of these cups last year at $5, then I would lower the price to $4 this year, that I won't sell any more of them. That's what this CBO scoring does," said Mulvaney.

He added, "We think it's broken and doesn't reflect the real world, but we have to play by those rules because they're there."

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    Emily Tillett is the digital producer at "Face the Nation"