Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich predicted Thursday that Republicans would fail to pass tax reform this fall if they try to set a deadline for doing so, as they did when they tried unsuccessfully to pass healthcare reform.
"I'm frankly equally afraid they are going to mishandle the tax cuts exactly the way they mishandled healthcare," Gingrich said on Fox News. "If that happens, we'll be at the end of the year with a disaster."
"I really hope they'll take some lessons from the first seven months and apply them to writing a tax cut bill that actually works," Gingrich added.
Gingrich, who served as House speaker during former President Bill Clinton's second term, said reforming current healthcare laws could take "three or four or five years or may take 10 or 12 different bills." For that reason, he said, a deadline doesn't make sense for any major reform effort.
"I think the initial setting [of] these deadlines, when you don't have a clear plan, when you don't have an absolute majority — there's really not a solid majority in either the House or the Senate," said Gingrich. "These kind of deadlines create these expectations and then it becomes a crisis, and then somebody has to have failed."
The Fox contributor said the GOP's main goal should be to learn from its healthcare fiasco to avoid the same outcome with tax reform, and recommended no deadline be set when current House Speaker Paul Ryan rolls out a tax bill in September.
Healthcare reform has fallen by the wayside after both chambers failed to pass various bills during the spring and summer. Conservatives in Congress had initially given themselves a spring deadline that was extended to late July, just before lawmakers returned to their constituents for the month of August.