Top officials at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest business lobby, said that the chances of getting major tax reform through Congress in the next year were better than they have been in decades thanks to President Trump's election.
"This is the big shot. We have a better shot now at tax reform than we have had in 30 years — by far. If it doesn't happen now, the prospects of it happening in the next two years following aren't going to be as good, one would presume," J.D. Foster, the Chamber's chief economist, told reporters Thursday.
Foster said that the presumption was so strong that many businesses were already investing based on the assumption that reform would happen. That has created the situation that if reform doesn't happen the economy could take a hit.
"If it stays in place, American businesses and international businesses are going to think very differently about the American economy that translates into a reduction in business investment in the economy. How much? No way to know, but it could be substantial. Enough to weaken the economy? How far? No way to know," Foster said.
Randy Johnson, the Chamber's senior vice president for labor, immigration, and employees benefits, said getting rid of the Affordable Care Act's so-called "Cadillac Tax" on high premium insurance plans was one of their top priorities in terms of lobbying Congress. The Chamber had hoped that it could been addressed as part of healthcare reform, but because that effort died in Congress, it now wants to make it part of a broader tax reform effort. The Chamber would be working with organized labor, which also opposes the tax, to get that done.
"I wouldn't say we have an unholy alliance with the unions, but they are right down the street, and we talk on the Cadillac tax and talk about strategy," Johnson said. The Washington, D.C., headquarters of the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor federation, are one block away from the Chamber's headquarters.
Foster added that, "All things are on the table because the outlines of tax reform are yet unknown to us."