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Mark Meadows: If tax reform isn't signed by Thanksgiving, it won't get done

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The legislation would need to be in introduced by September or October and would need to make the tax cuts effective for 2017, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

Tax reform needs to be wrapped up by Thanksgiving, or else it won't get done, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus warned activists Wednesday.

"If it doesn't get there by Thanksgiving, guys, it isn't going to happen," North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows told a group of Americans for Prosperity activists at Washington's Newseum.

To reach President Trump's desk by Thanksgiving, the conservative lawmaker suggested, legislation would need to be in introduced in Congress by September or October and would need to make the tax cuts effective for 2017. That aligns with the aggressive timeline laid out this week by the White House, one that would require a swift resolution to funding the government and raising the federal debt ceiling, in addition to other priorities.

Meadows, whose group has the influence to shape legislation in the House, expressed support for a supply-side version of tax reform that isn't meant to rely on support from Democrats.

The changes to the tax code should not be required to raise as much tax revenue as raised by the current tax system, he said. Rather, it should provide a net tax cut. Freedom Caucus members have backed the idea of reducing welfare spending to offset tax cuts.

Also, Meadows favors a low corporate tax rate, rather than the high 35 percent rate in force today. The rate should be "something with a one in front of it, whether it's 15, or 17 or 18," he said. "That's where we need to be."

To offset lost revenue from rate reductions, he said, he favors eliminating some of the special tax breaks in the current code. "Philosophically, I want to get it back to where it's more pure," he said, with fewer deductions.