Graham Warns GOP Will Suffer If Tax Reform Fails

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Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on Oct. 15 the Republican Party will be in trouble if it fails to pass the tax cuts promised by President Donald Trump.

Graham told CBS News' "Face the Nation" that if Congress stalls on tax reform as it did on repealing Obamacare, "it'll be the end of [Republican Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell as we know it," according to Axios.

Graham warned of the impact on Republicans running in the midterm elections in 2018, saying they would lose if the GOP does not keep its promises.

He described Steve Bannon, Trump's former chief political adviser and now head of Breitbart News, as "a symptom of the problem."

"If we do cut taxes and we do repeal and replace Obamacare, it doesn't matter what Bannon [does] because we'll win," he added.

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But Republicans are divided over the tax cut plans, with some concerned that going ahead with the proposal will increase the federal deficit. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, considered a fiscal conservative, recently criticized the Trump administration's Mick Mulvaney, who heads the Office of Management and Budget.

"Our OMB guy, I say this with humor, what happened to him?" Corker said, according to Politico. "Do you understand what I'm saying? He used to be the fiscal hawk."

Mulvaney is now saying tax cuts can be implemented even if they increase the deficit because the economic growth they will encourage will reduce the deficit in the longer term.

Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, agreed, saying the Republicans have not gone far enough in cutting government spending.

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"What you have to do is you have to mitigate the damage by being as aggressive as you can be on tax rates, which would lessen the damage of our lack of fiscal responsibility over time," Meadows added.

Corker, citing the studies of economists who question whether tax cuts can pay for themselves, indicated he could vote against the tax cut plan.

"I'm now nervous about where this goes," he said. "I hope that in the end if it's a big deficit creator, then our caucus will not support it."

Some Republicans say that while they agree tax cuts should be paid for by spending cuts, they may vote for a package that increases the deficit.

Others appear to be more determined to stick to their views.

"I'm a huge deficit hawk," GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told Politico. "My opinion has always been that you pay for a tax cut with spending cuts. And everybody else up here thinks you should pay for a tax cut by increasing somebody else's taxes."

Sources: Axios, Politico / Featured Image: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Evan Walker/The White House/Wikimedia Commons, Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

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