The Republican Senate leadership is looking to shift the focus of the repeal-and-replace legislation that President Donald Trump signed into law from healthcare to tax cuts, as it prepares to take the Senate back to Washington for a final vote.GOP leaders are also expected to propose a bill that would cut taxes for individuals, as well as companies, to pay for the changes.
And while the plan is being developed by members of both parties, it’s likely to be the first time the GOP has put its proposals forward.
The plan is expected to face opposition from Democrats who say it will disproportionately benefit the wealthy and corporations.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is said to be working to get a bill to Trump’s desk by March 7, but the House and Senate are unlikely to agree to any legislation before the April 4 deadline.
In addition to tax relief, the House is expected take a more aggressive approach to overhauling the healthcare system.
While the GOP plan could be the most ambitious yet, it could also face stiff resistance from Democrats, who have said it is too little, too late.
Democrats argue that it would not make any real changes to the current system.
Democrats have long called for a repeal-only bill, and some Republicans are now saying they would like to include provisions that would require insurers to cover the entire individual market.
The legislation would be the product of months of back-and to-back talks among House and GOP leadership, and it is expected that the two chambers would meet to hash out a compromise.
But the House’s plan, which was initially expected to be unveiled last week, has been delayed.
Republicans have also been pushing to extend the current deadline to March 31, and that would allow for more time to negotiate a bill.
“This is a very, very ambitious plan,” said Sen. John Thune John Randolph ThuneOvernight Health Care: GOP takes aim at ObamaCare penalties | Insurers target ObamaCare penalties for insurers | GOP to delay payments to providers | GOP leaders push back on ObamaCare payments extension | Dems want ObamaCare funding for pre-existing conditions in GOP bill MORE (R-S.D.).
“It’s a very significant step forward.”
Republican leaders say the Senate has a better chance of passing a bill if the House passes the bill by April 4.
But that is not expected to happen, and McConnell is not expecting the House to act before then.
Republicans have also struggled with the fact that they cannot afford to pass a repeal bill without Democratic support.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Charles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerElection Countdown: Kavanaugh allegations put GOP in tough spot | Republicans start to pull plug on candidates | Dems get early start in Iowa | O’Rourke defends Cruz after protesters interrupt dinner | Why Biden is the Democrat GOP most fears Bredesen says he’s ‘not running for reelection’ MORE (D-N.Y.) has said that any bipartisan agreement between the two parties would require a bipartisan vote.
The Democratic leadership has said it would like a vote on a Republican bill, but that the House bill is a good start.
“I think the Republicans should get the House on board, and the Democrats should get on board,” Schumer said.
“I think we should get together, and we should work it out.”
The Trump administration has said the GOP bill will not create an “exit tax” for the American people, as Schumer and other Democrats have suggested.
That is an issue that has plagued Republicans in the past, as the Trump administration argued the tax cuts would be a boon to the middle class.
The White House has also said the bill does not provide for the creation of an insurance market where Americans buy insurance on the open market, something the administration has previously insisted is a key part of a healthcare system that can be fixed.
Democrats, who want a replacement for the ACA that is much more progressive, have said that would be too difficult.
In their latest push to get Republicans on board on healthcare, Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren Elizabeth Ann WarrenCarbon tax could give liberals vast power to grow federal government Democrats oppose tax cuts for oil industry MORE (Mass.), the top Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee, are expected to unveil legislation Thursday that would provide tax credits to people who buy insurance through a marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act.
It is expected the Senate would vote on the legislation on Thursday, though that date is not set.
The Senate will vote on its version of the bill next week, with the House expected to vote on it on March 5.