Trump gives Republicans pep talk before House vote on tax plan

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(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump delivered a pep talk to House Republicans as they were poised to pass a tax overhaul bill Thursday afternoon and urged them to next target government welfare programs.

Trump told group in a Thursday visit to the Capitol that “We’ve got to get this done” and then turn to cutting spending on welfare programs, Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz quoted the president as saying.

Representative Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican, said Trump didn’t share any preferences on the policy differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.

“I expect he’ll be out on the road to sell it,” Cole said, adding that it’s up to Senate and House to give him something to sell.

House Republican leaders say they’re confident they have the votes to pass the bill. But the outcome will be determined in the Senate, where one GOP lawmaker has raised objections to business tax provisions and another is expressing concern about a provision that would repeal the Obamacare mandate for individuals to have health insurance. Because of their thin majority in the Senate, Republicans can’t afford to lose more than two votes if Democrats maintain solid opposition.

Only about 10 House Republicans had declared by Wednesday that they’d vote no -- and many of them cited a proposal to repeal or limit individuals’ state and local tax deductions. The House legislation would end all but the break for state and local property taxes, which it would cap at $10,000. Republicans can spare 22 votes without Democratic support.

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