Republicans turn focus to tax reform following health care bill failure

GOP tax code overhaul
GOP tax code overhaul 02:01

WASHINGTON -- After failing to close the deal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Trump is moving on to reforming the tax code.

“I would say that we will probably start going very, very strongly for the big tax cuts and tax reform,” Mr. Trump said Friday after House Republicans pulled the bill. “That will be next.” 

On Saturday, Mr. Trump held what aides described as meetings at his golf course in Virginia, while Vice President Mike Pence addressed small business owners in West Virginia.

Mr. Trump was convinced by GOP leaders to tackle taxes after health care, using any money saved by cutting Obamacare to pay for tax reform.

“The savings that you achieve through Obamacare, which we were going to save many billions of dollars, can be used then towards the additional pot for tax reform,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told Fox News.

But now that Republicans have been dealt their first major legislative loss, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., acknowledged tax reform will not be easy.

“Yes, this does make tax reform more difficult, but it does not in any way make it impossible,” Ryan said. 

Ryan's devastating blow 04:05

Ryan’s House conference is split between moderate Republicans and the more conservative and vocal House Freedom Caucus.

On Friday, Mr. Trump steered clear of criticizing any fellow Republicans. 

“I like Speaker Ryan,” Mr. Trump said after the vote on the bill was canceled Friday. “He worked very, very hard. A lot of different groups, he’s got a lot of factions.”

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who acknowledged he has yet to meet with Mr. Trump, was asked how the new commander in chief could be more effective.

McCain said Mr. Trump should reach across the aisle, listen to his advisers and “I guess, third of all, stop tweeting.”