Speed Reads

Pick Yourself Up

With health care dead, Trump and GOP turn to taxes, shutdown threat

This week, the Trump White House and Republican-led Congress plan to dust themselves off from a bruising self-defeat on a GOP health-care bill and begin work on reforming the tax code, something that hasn't been done in some 30 years. The failure of the health-care plan will likely curb the ambition of the tax overhaul, for both political reasons and because of their decision to use the filibuster-proof Senate budget reconciliation process. "They have to have a victory here," Stephen Moore, a Heritage Foundation economist and Trump adviser, tells The New York Times. "But it is going to have to be a bit less ambitious rather than going for the big bang."

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his lieutenants have been working on a tax plan since at least last summer, but it's not clear that, after the health-care debacle, the White House will follow Ryan's lead this time. One positive sign for Ryan is that the deficit hawks on the House Freedom Caucus, which helped sink the health-care bill, have expressed flexibility in accepting tax cuts that are not offset by spending cuts or some rise in revenue.

Before they embark on tax reform, however, Republicans have to pass a new spending bill, or risk a government shutdown. The big political fight is expected to be over the insistence by House conservatives to include defunding Planned Parenthood in the spending bill, a nonstarter in the Senate. The current government spending resolution expires April 28.