President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he’s open to repealing the Affordable Care Act’s taxes, subsidies and protections, but he wants the tax plan he’s been pushing to Congress to be bipartisan and focused on lowering taxes for middle-class Americans.
The president told reporters in a White House briefing that he will not support a bill he described as “a repeal and replace bill,” despite a bipartisan group of GOP lawmakers in the House of Representatives already endorsing the measure as a priority.
Trump said he’s “going to keep talking about it” and wants to get it done.
“We’re going to have a bipartisan effort that will come together.
We’re going have to do that.
It’s got to be done,” he said.
Trump said he believes the tax bill will be “good” for the country, but not without significant changes.
“The problem with this bill is it’s not bipartisan, and it’s going to be good for the economy, but it’s also going to hurt the middle class, it’s got a lot of taxes that are going to go up and a lot more on the wealthy,” he told reporters.
“I don’t know if it’s good for us, but I’m going to do it.
If you’re going out and saying, ‘I want to get rid of this’ and you’re not going to get done, then it’s a terrible bill.”
He also defended his administration’s approach to repealing and replacing the Affordable Health Care Act.
“It’s the most expensive thing in the world, and I’m not sure we’re going do it, but we’re doing it, because the people that want to do this are going through,” Trump said.
“So we’re trying to get as much done as possible.”
He said the tax overhaul he is pushing for “will not be a one-size-fits-all thing,” and that he believes it will benefit middle-income Americans.
“I’m going down there with people that have very small amounts of money and will pay taxes.
And I’m also going down with people who have very large amounts of wealth and are paying very, very little,” he continued.
“And we’re having some success.”
Trump’s remarks come amid a continuing debate about whether the tax cuts, which Trump said will cost the government $5 trillion over the next decade, will be enough to make up for the lost revenue.
The Senate’s version of the tax legislation, however, does not include a tax cut for the middle- and upper-income earners.
The White House has said the bill would add $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit over 10 years.
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimated that by 2025, repealing the ACA would add an additional $2.4 trillion to government coffers, and the cost would rise to $10.3 trillion over 20 years.
While Trump and Senate Republicans have been pushing for a more comprehensive plan, a growing number of Democrats have urged Republicans to hold off on the plan, arguing it would not produce a substantial reduction in the deficit.
The Tax Policy Committee, a nonpartisan think tank, recently estimated that repealing the health care law would add another $8 trillion to deficits over the long term.
The panel also said the plan would cost the federal government $1 trillion more over the decade.
The tax bill was a top priority of Trump’s campaign.
While he said he had yet to finalize his preferred plan, he signaled in his Wednesday morning briefing that a plan that would repeal and rewrite the law without any significant changes would be a priority of his administration.
Trump told reporters that the White House is confident that a bill that does not increase the deficit is more palatable than the one that would do so.
“It’s probably a little more palatably palatable, but there’s a way to do both,” he noted.
“And I think we have to have some way to make it palatable.
I think it’s one of the things we have that we’ve had to do for quite some time, and we’ve tried to do a number of things,” he added.
“You know, we’ve said a lot about how we’re changing the system, but if we’re not able to get our tax bill done and we’re still talking about, you know, repealing Obamacare, then you have to get your tax bill passed.”
He repeated that he thinks the tax package is a good idea, but that it’s “a little bit different than what I think is needed.”