White House would support dropping Affordable Care Act repeal from tax plan

WASHINGTON — The White House would support removing from the Senate tax plan a controversial provision to repeal the individual health care mandate of the Affordable Care Act, budget director Mick Mulvaney said — a move that could help win the votes of key Republicans.

The provision could be dropped if it becomes “an impediment,” Mulvaney, head of the Office of Management and Budget, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I don’t think anybody doubts where the White House is on repealing and replacing Obamacare: We absolutely want to do it. If we can repeal part of Obamacare as part of a tax bill and have a tax bill that is still a good tax bill that can pass, that’s great,” he said. “If it becomes an impediment to getting the best tax bill we can, then we’re OK with taking it out.”

At the same time, White House legislative director Marc Short said the administration approves of the Senate including the repeal of the individual mandate in the bill because it predominately affects those earning $50,000 a year or less.

“The White House is very comfortable with the House bill,” Short said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We also, though, believe the individual mandate is a tax, and it is harming middle-income families the most. So we like the fact that the Senate has included it in its bill.”

House Republicans passed their tax plan Thursday, and later that night the Senate Finance Committee approved a far different version that postpones difficult questions as lawmakers rush to refashion much of the U.S. economy on the tight schedule demanded by President Donald Trump.

Some Republican senators have expressed concern about the plan. One, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, has said he can’t support the proposal as written.

The House bill would lower the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent, shrink the number of individual tax brackets to four from seven, and scrap many popular tax breaks and deductions. Several Republicans from districts in high-tax states voted against the plan.

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