Fleischmann: Health, tax reform bills are possible this year

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann said Tuesday there’s a chance of seeing health care and corporate tax reform bills passed by year’s end.

Also, the Tennessee Republican said President Donald Trump’s response to the Charlottesville, Va., attack was “handled the right way initially,” and Fleischmann called for “a national healing process.”

The Chattanooga congressman said a lot depends on what happens in the U.S. Senate as to whether progress is made on health care reform and reducing corporate taxes.

Under Senate rules, only 50 votes are needed to move ahead on those issues along with a vote by Vice President Mike Pence, Fleischmann said in remarks to Chattanooga Times Free Press reporters and editors.

“I think we have a very good opportunity to address something on health care largely because the status quo is imploding,” Fleischmann said about the Affordable Care Act. “There’s going to be pressure on this, as it should be, to fix this.”

In terms of tax reform, he said he sees “a really good” chance for movement on corporate rather than individual levies.

Some moderate Democrats have expressed to him the need for corporate tax reform, Fleischmann said.

“We want to have a situation where companies say, ‘I want to do business in America. I want to be based in America,'” he said.

Currently, some companies are paying a tax rate of 35 percent or more, Fleischmann said.

“That is such an oppressive taxation system on corporations, they’re going to continue to look elsewhere,” he said. “Capital is going to go where it’s treated the best and the fairest.”

Concerning individual tax rates, Fleischmann said it will be more difficult to reach an agreement.

“There are people like me who want to see individual rates get reduced for everyone, even high earners,” he said.

In regards to an infrastructure bill, the congressman said he’s hopeful of seeing bipartisan cooperation. The key problem is how to pay for it, he said.

“There are a lot of good ideas coming from both sides,” Fleischmann said.

While Trump received criticism from some for his initial remarks regarding the Charlottesville attack by a white supremacist, Fleischmann said he thinks the president is “committed to bringing America together, not to divide us.”

The congressman said condemning hate speech and violence is “very important.”

“We really do need to have a national healing process,” he said. Fleischmann called on setting up a scenario to make sure “everyone has a seat at the table. No one feels left out. There’s economic potential and opportunity for people.”

Contact staff writer Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318.

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