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Trump changes course again, says health-care repeal must happen before tax overhaul

Trump changes course again, says health-care repeal must happen before tax overhaul
President Trump and a top adviser on Wednesday pushed back plans to overhaul the tax code, saying they wanted to prioritize first a renewed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The comments from Trump and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney mark a sharp reversal from the administration’s approach just a few weeks ago. After they were dealt a stinging defeat when conservative Republicans refused to vote for a GOP health-care plan, Trump angrily said he was pivoting to tax reform and has been peppering his top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, for details of their tax timeline ever since.

After Republicans withdrew their health-care plan on March 24, President Trump announced he would shift focus to tax reform. "We will probably start going very very strongly for the big tax cuts and tax reform, that'll be next," he said.

Cohn and his team — as well as top officials at the Treasury Department — have been hard at work trying to put together a tax overhaul blueprint that they believe would lower rates and create more jobs. But Trump — in an interview with Fox Business that aired Wednesday — said the tax effort would now have to wait.

“Health care is going to happen at some point,” Trump said. “Now, if it doesn't happen fast enough, I'll start the taxes. But the tax reform and the tax cuts are better if I can do health care first.”

Many White House officials had already been telling business executives and others that the tax overhaul plan was well underway.

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