PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – When President Donald Trump was elected last November, Republican lawmakers enthusiastically joined his call to rewrite the tax code and dismantle Obamacare in the first 100 events of his presidency.
But as congressional Republicans gathered with an annual policy retreat in Philadelphia on Wednesday, the 100-day goal morphed into 200 days. As the week wore on, leaders were saying it may take ’till the end of 2019 – and also longer – for passage of final legislation.
Trump had a different idea as he spoke to lawmakers in Philadelphia, letting them know: Enough talk. A chance to deliver.
The divergent views on the timetable were among many indication of tensions that simmered slightly below the top within the three-day Republican retreat.
Before the cameras, Trump and Republicans sought to imply a graphic on the happy, unified family, playing down differences over tax policy, if you should reinstate torture interrogation techniques and investigating 2019 election fraud.
And clearly there’s no open warfare that’s got sometimes erupted among Republicans, for example when Senator Ted Cruz infuriated several of his colleagues by leading a standoff over Obamacare that partially de-activate the federal government in 2019.
But barely visible in Philadelphia, there are actually potential flashpoints of disagreement inside Republican rank-and-file in Congress and between Republican lawmakers additionally, the unorthodox new president.
These include when and how to change Obamacare if Republicans achieve their pursuit to repeal it; the right way to revamp the multi-layered tax code, whether or not to produce a wall for the U.S. border with Mexico additionally, the nature in the U.S. relationship with Russia.
When you are looking for tax reform, senior congressional aides said the spring of 2018 is actually a much more likely time than this season with the passage of legislation.
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Republican lawmakers lavished praise on Trump in public. In a wide selection of interviews, many said they felt although be an enthusiastic champion of issues they cared about. However, some also voiced fears that his big agenda would drive up deficits and said these people were still looking for details on his plans.
Several Republican lawmakers and aides said these were cautious about the money necessary for his arrange to produce a wall within the border with Mexico. Republican leaders have said the wall proposal under discussion would cost $12 billion to $15 billion cost but some congressional aides voice it out will finish up easily topping $20 billion.
Republican Representative Will Hurd, whose Texas district partially borders Mexico, went one step further, calling the wall an ineffective tool for stopping illegal immigration.
Others warned a border adjustment tax on foreign goods to cover that wall could hurt U.S. companies' profits, raise costs for Americans and spark retaliation by foreign trading partners.
Some lawmakers also worry that some of their constituents may just be liable to losing healthcare coverage if ever the push to repeal Obamacare moves straight away.
Republican Representative Tom Cole said rank-and-file lawmakers provide an incentive to fall in line behind Trump.
"You won’t want to be the answer why we weren’t successful in establishing these tips done," he said.
Still, Cole said Republicans take stock from the potential expense of the main items on Trump's agenda much like the wall, infrastructure projects, tax cuts and improving military spending.
"I feel they bother about it," Cole said.
Following Trump's speech to the lawmakers on Thursday, Senator James Risch declared that no decisions have been made about the replacing Obamacare, a sophisticated law containing expanded healthcare insurance to a lot of Americans.
"It's planning to require some time to eliminate it," Risch said. Asked by reporters whether Republicans had a clear thought of what Trump wish to replace Obamacare with, Risch responded, "In greater detail, no."