Tags: steve bannon | republicans | support | tax reform

Report: Bannon Could Hurt GOP Tax Reform Push

Image: Report: Bannon Could Hurt GOP Tax Reform Push
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon (Craig Ruttle/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 17 October 2017 08:16 PM

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon's efforts to challenge some Senate Republicans could put the party's efforts at a tax overhaul in jeopardy, The Hill reported Tuesday.

Since leaving the White House, Bannon has vowed to defeat Republicans who oppose President Donald Trump's agenda, backing opponents of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller. And Great America PAC, to which Bannon has ties, has thrown its support to Kevin Nicholson in Wisconsin. Nicholson has said that, if elected to the Senate, he will oppose Sen. Mitch McConnell as majority leader.

Bannon has been critical of "establishment" Republicans for failing to repeal Obamacare and pass other parts of Trump's agenda. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, is among those fearing that failure to pass tax reform could be the nail in the GOP coffin in next year's midterms.

"There's one antidote to Steve Bannon: success," Graham told reporters on Tuesday. "If people see us delivering on health care and taxes . . . all of our guys and gals are going to win. But if we go into 2018 saying, 'Well, we just don't have enough Republicans,' Bannon will beat 'em all or come close to beating 'em."

Bannon already has had success in Alabama, backing former state Chief Justice Roy Moore in his win over sitting Sen. Luther Strange in last month's special election runoff. The latest Fox News poll shows Moore and Democrat Doug Jones tied at 42 percent, and that's just the scenario Republicans fear in 2018 as they hope to hold onto their narrow 52-48 Senate majority.

Trump said Monday at a Rose Garden press conference with McConnell that he hopes to talk Bannon out of going after GOP senators, and an unnamed White House official told The Hill that Bannon's actions are "not helpful."

Bannon adviser Andy Surabian told The Hill that although Bannon's Breitbart News has published articles attacking the tax proposal, he doesn't want to see it fail.

"I think the effect of what Bannon is doing will result in senators being a lot more likely to vote for tax reform and vocally support the entire Trump agenda now to show that they are with the president," Surabian said.

But a former aide to Senate GOP leadership countered that Bannon's primary threats could cause a senator who planned to vote for the tax bill to vote against it because, "primaries are sometimes where the perfect is the enemy of the good."

Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich also has panned Bannon's strategy, saying, "My whole career has been spent focused on how do I elect more Republicans, not how do I cannibalize Republicans."

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Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon's efforts to challenge some Senate Republicans could put the party's efforts at a tax overhaul in jeopardy, The Hill reported Tuesday.
steve bannon, republicans, support, tax reform
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2017-16-17
Tuesday, 17 October 2017 08:16 PM
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