Politics

Priebus Outlines New Administration's Top Priorities

| by Robert Fowler

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has outlined the top priorities for the first nine months of President-elect Donald Trump's administration. The agenda will focus on repealing the Affordable Care Act and tax reform.

On Dec. 14, Priebus promised that the new administration will enact sweeping changes that will impact U.S. health care and tax policy.

"It's going to be a busy year starting with the first nine months being very much consumed through Obamacare and tax reform," Priebus told CNN. "I think we're probably going to lead with Obamacare, repeal and then replace."

On Dec. 12, Republican Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, stated the first priority of Congress in 2017 would be to repeal key components of the ACA, followed by deliberations of what they would replace the massive health care law with, The Washington Post reports.

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GOP lawmakers have been aggressively pledging to repeal the ACA since 2010. Because the Republican party has only 52 seats in the Senate, it is unlikely they have the supermajority required to fully repeal the health care law. Instead, they can eliminate crucial components of the ACA through a budget procedure, rendering it ineffective.

If the ACA is fully repealed, an estimated 12 million in the U.S. would lose their Medicaid coverage, 9 million would lose subsidies that pay for their coverage and 52 million with pre-existing conditions could potentially be denied coverage, according to The Wasghington Post. GOP lawmakers have yet to reveal their plan for how to provide these citizens with health insurance.

Priebus said the GOP plan to overhaul the tax structure would appear in the form of two separate packages.

"You'll have tax, a small tax reform package, and then a bigger tax reform package at the end of April," Priebus said. "So I think what you're looking at is between two tax reform packages and reconciliation in the first nine months."

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Priebus, the former Republican National Committee chairman, added that GOP would capitalize on its majorities in Congress to institute a conservative agenda as swiftly as possible.

"I can assure you that we're working around the clock to make sure that big changes, bold changes, happen quickly, and that the Republicans across the country deliver not just on the promises everyone has been making over the years but also deliver on the philosophy of the party that's been outlined year in and year out," Priebus said.

The incoming White House chief of staff concluded that it was "time for being in the majority, and I can tell you President-elect Trump is going to lead the way to put up and show up."

Priebus' promises of instituting as conservative an agenda as possible indicates the incoming administration believes it has a mandate, which has been disputed by the incoming Democratic Senate Minority Leader  Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.

On Nov. 20, Schumer warned Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress not to overestimate their mandate, asserting that the election was more contentious than the Electoral College results would suggest.

"As you know, Democrats got a majority of the popular vote, Hillary [Clinton] did," Schumer told ABC News.

Sources: ABC NewsCNN, The Washington Post / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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