President Donald Trump must keep infrastructure improvement separate from tax reform, according to anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist in an interview with The Hill.
The president has mentioned putting the ideas together to win bipartisan support, but fiscal conservatives say that would make cutting taxes more difficult.
While most legistlation needs 60 votes to overcome a filibuster in the Senate and Republicans only hold 52 seats, it could make sense for Republicans to appeal to Democrats to get tax reform passed. However, according to Norquist, not only is it "unlikely" to get the support of eight Democrats but it's also not necessary, and could be done with budget reconciliation.
"A strong, pro-growth tax reform is unlikely to attract [Democrats]," Norquist said. "You don't need to do this with 60 votes — you can do it inside reconciliation, so you don’t need to attract Democrats."
When Barack Obama was president, Republicans were open to paying for infrastructure using tax revenue from repatriation of businesses' foreign earnings. But that doesn't mean it needs to be revisited now, Norquist told The Hill.
Norquist's opinion is valued among legislators, and he is usually in tune with Republicans in Congress, The Hill's report said.
Other conservative leaders agree with his position about keeping the two issues separate.
"I think people prefer to have a single issue thoroughly and openly debated," said Andy Roth, Club for Growth vice president for government affairs.
"It's a bad idea. You're going to end up with something that nobody's going to be really happy with: mediocre tax reform and a mediocre infrastructure bill," according to Marc Scribner, Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow.
"Whenever you start talking major tax reform, whatever else you're tying it to becomes secondary," Scribner added.
In March, Norquist expressed doubt that Democrats and Republicans could work together on tax reform. "That's fantasy world," Norquist said March 27 on Fox Business.
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