Republican Meadows: Tax plan does not have to be revenue neutral

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[March 27, 2017]    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Mark Meadows, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said on Sunday there is a possibility that his group could support a tax reform plan that is not revenue neutral.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows speaks to reporters after meeting with his caucus members about their votes on a potential repeal of Obamacare. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

"Does it have to be, what they would say, revenue neutral? Or do you have to have an offset like with the border adjustment tax? ... I think there's been a lot of flexibility in terms of some of my contacts in conservatives in terms of not making it totally offset ...," Meadows said in an interview on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

A fiscal conservative, Meadows had said that tax reform depended on the repeal of Obamacare in order to offset the likely cost of tax cuts.

President Donald Trump has already said he will move on from dealing with healthcare to his tax plans and in a tweet on Sunday morning blamed the Freedom Caucus for keeping Obamacare intact.

"Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!" he tweeted.

Meadows, whose group was pivotal in sinking the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare in the House, said he had not yet given up on efforts to reform healthcare before tackling tax reform.

"I still believe that there is a good chance, if moderates and conservatives can come together, that we repeal and replace Obamacare, bring premiums down, cover more people," he said.

(Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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