After health care failure, Colorado conservatives take aim at federal tax reform

A few dozen conservatives, wearing T-shirts bearing the image of a bloated Uncle Sam feasting on tax dollars, rallied in downtown Denver Tuesday to call for sweeping changes to the federal tax code that would simplify tax filing, eliminate loopholes and tax breaks, and cut taxes for businesses and individuals.

But “what are the chances of it happening?” U.S. Rep. Ken Buck asked rhetorically at one point. “I’ll tell you at the end of September.”

After the Republican Congress’ failure to pass a health care bill, conservatives are shifting their focus to tax reform, with hopes that President Donald Trump will sign something into law before the end of the year. But Republicans will have to clear other political hurdles first — namely, looming deadlines for raising the debt limit and funding the federal budget.

The rally, organized by the Colorado chapter of Americans for Prosperity, was part of a national push by the conservative advocacy group to increase pressure on Congress to overhaul the nation’s tax code.

It’s not yet clear what exactly that will look like. Trump released a rough sketch of a plan this spring, boasting that it would be the “largest tax reform” in U.S. history.

But it contained provisions such as a border tax that House Speaker Paul Ryan has since ruled out. And Democrats, whose support could be needed under Senate rules to pass lasting reform, have scoffed at the notion that tax cuts for corporations and the rich will spur the sort of economic growth that Trump would need to offset the lost revenue.

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