Stung by the public relations debacle of Republican’s attempts to change health care, President Donald Trump’s administration is said to be planning a more coordinated effort for its tax reform efforts, Axios reported on Sunday.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, the publication said the White House has engaged in high-level planning and organization of its efforts to reshape the tax code — the centerpiece of Trump’s economic policy and a linchpin of the rally that’s carried the market to new record highs.
Axios cited unnamed activists and business leaders that have met with National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who is leading the communications strategy. Those involved in the effort said the administration is hoping to avoid tax reform meeting the same fate as the GOP’s health care reform, currently mired in the Senate, where passage is uncertain.
The stakes are high, as Trump — who revels in an image as a political outsider — was partly blamed for the failure of the GOP’s first stab at passing a health care bill, which lacked crucial party support. The current version is widely seen as lacking the necessary votes for passage in the Republican-led Senate.
As part of the push to bolster public support, Trump will make the case to Midwest states he won in the general election while the White House enlists CEOs to serve as influencers, speaking at town halls and making the case to employees and the media. In addition, traditional tax reform grassroots advocates are expected to throw their weight behind the effort, Axios said.
Investors have sent stocks skyrocketing on expectations of a fiscal boost from changes to the complicated tax code — with most expecting a cut in corporate tax rates. Even supporters of the White House have argued the GOP may suffer a heavy political price in the 2018 midterm elections if tax reform weren’t able to pass next year.
Last week, Citibank analysts wrote that “around the turn of the year, we do expect to see tax cuts emerge in the U.S., giving a moderate stimulus, and a boost to” Treasury yields and the dollar.
A White House representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.