White House officials pushed state and local leaders at a private gathering on Thursday to highlight the benefits of the current GOP tax plan when they return to their communities, many of which are in high tax states that could be disproportionately impacted by changes to current deductions.
"I'm on fire and I want everybody else to be on fire who's trying push for tax reform," said Linda McMahon, the chief of the Small Business Administration, at the Thursday event with state representatives and legislators.
National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and D.J. Gribbin, a White House adviser for infrastructure policy, were also slated to address attendees.
McMahon delivered brief remarks to the group of politicians, relaying what she has heard from entrepreneurs and small business owners during her recent travels across the country.
"The one thing I hear over and over again is they want tax reform," McMahon said. "More importantly, they want tax cuts and they want things to be simpler."
A vast majority of attendees were county legislators or commissioners from California, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania – states whose congressional representatives have balked at the GOP proposal to eliminate state and local tax deductions.
Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., for example, came out against the House Republican tax bill hours before the lower chamber was set to vote on the legislation.
"I am convinced that the business side of this bill will produce dramatic growth for the national economy. However, I believe the personal income tax side does significant harm, particularly to many families in high-cost, high-tax states like California," McClintock had said.
McClintock joined a dozen other Republicans who voted against the bill, which passed the House on a 227-205 vote Thursday afternoon.
The legislation will advance to the Senate, where members of the Finance Committee met Wednesday to debate their own bill.
White House officials have repeatedly urged Congress to pass a tax bill by Thanksgiving, so President Trump can sign the changes into law before the start of 2018.