The Other Senator Worrying the White House

The Other Senator Worrying the White House

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Republicans may be worried about the potential fallout from the nasty feud between President Trump and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN). But Marc Short, the White House’s legislative affairs director, and others in the White House are reportedly also concerned about another GOP senator who could be a wild card in the push for tax reform: Kentucky contrarian Rand Paul.

Paul is sending signals that he’ll vote against the Senate budget resolution, Politico’s Burgess Everett and Josh Dawsey report. And while Paul has worked with the White House on a forthcoming executive order to expand association health plans — which would allow small businesses and other groups to join together to buy health coverage — he was a key opponent of some of the GOP’s Obamacare repeal-and-replace proposals and hasn’t been shy about publicly criticizing the nascent tax reform effort.

“The danger for this bill right now is the pay-for may be a middle-class tax hike. And if that’s that, it’s going to be a real problem,” Paul told Politico. “If you lower the taxes on the rich and lower the taxes on the poor and then say, ‘Oh, it’s going to be revenue neutral,’ we’ve got to raise somebody’s taxes to pay for it.”

Paul officially says he’s undecided on the budget and the tax plan, and he may still be able to win changes to one or both. But for now, that sure sounds a lot like a “no.”