Teamwork, Mr. President. Teamwork.
You need to reach out for help from Congress, not issue warnings of an “or else” consequence if lawmakers fail to enact a “once in a generation” tax overhaul.
Donald Trump ventured to Missouri today to hawk a plan to change the federal tax system. His public remarks were, typically, short on details. The rough outlines suggest that the president wants to cut tax rates for wealthier Americans and perhaps simplify the monstrous tax code — which I read the other day comprises 78,000 pages.
But as his the president’s style, he is putting pressure on Congress to do his bidding. What we learned, though, from the failed Republican-only effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is that the president needs to weigh in with detailed analysis and must be willing and able to argue the fine points of what he prefers from the lawmakers he needs to make it become law.
Trump failed famously to do any of that as the ACA repeal effort floundered and failed in the U.S. Senate.
Now he’s implying a threat to congressional leaders. “I think Congress is going to make a comeback. I hope so. I’ll tell you what, the United States is counting on it,” Trump said in Missouri.
I need to mention, too, that the president’s relationship with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has gone from frosty to frigid. Trump needs McConnell at least as much as the other way around. Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan — who presides over the body where all tax legislation originates — isn’t exactly singing the president’s praises of late, either.
Get in the game, Mr. President. If you want any sort of success, then it’s time for you to stop threatening and start cajoling.
Politics isn’t easy. Or simple. You can’t just make demands of legislators and expect them to march to your cadence. They have actual “bosses” back home, in their states and congressional districts, who they need to please.
They work for them, Mr. President. Not you.