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John Dickerson: Government Funding And Tax Cuts Could Be Tricky For White House

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - John Dickerson, the Moderator of Face The Nation on CBS, discussed the challenges the Trump administration faces moving forward with their hopes of again repealing and replacing Obamacare and then passing a broad tax cut.

Dickerson told Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT that before getting on with those plans, first they must broker a compromise to keep the government funded, which may not be as easy as they think.


"The push and pull here is the White House wants some more funding for the border wall, defense spending, they want to cut off funding to sanctuary cities. They need 60 votes in the Senate. What Democrats would be likely to trade in order to accept some portion of those things, they're not going to accept all of it, would be permanent funding for the subsidies that are a part of the Affordable Care Act. Now, of course, if you continue to support those subsidies, you're going to anger a lot of conservatives who want to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. The President has also said that he would not continue those subsidies as a way of hastening the death of the Affordable Care Act. On the other hand, he needs to get 60 votes in the Senate. So that's the push and pull."

He believes that once they bridge that divide, the ambitious restructuring of the tax code the White House had hoped for will have to be scaled down to something smaller.

"Tax reform is a mess. It's incredibly complicated. Lobbyists will get their hands all over it. The real thing you want to try and do with tax reform is reform the way we do taxes altogether. That's not going to happen. There's just not a consensus for that and there's not enough persuasive power in the system to do that. So, it's going to be a, kind of, tinkering with the existing system. Once you do that, you get into huge battles over the deductions that some may want to get rid of. The White House wants to get rid of, perhaps, state and local tax deductibility, which economists like but Governor's hate. It gets real complicated real fast."

Dickerson said there are so many competing interests inside the arena of tax reform that it is difficult to push through even moderate changes.

"Some people want to put tax cuts at the personal level inside reform. It allows you to do more than if you were just trying to pass a tax cut by itself. That's what Reagan did, that's what Kennedy did, matching that reform idea with the cut. Other people really think, in order to get the corporate piece, you need to be able to trade items on the personal side. That's part of a grand deal that you can't just do corporate. The other reason is because the lobbyists, who have interests at various parts of this, get their hands all over the legislation and cause trouble and so you get a lot of people in there putting pressure on lawmakers and then it just doesn't happen."


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