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Ryan, McConnell Joke About Tax Bill Future, Democratic Aide Says

Overheard: ‘We’re definitely going to conference’

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (CQ Roll Call file photo)
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have been joking about the future of the GOP  tax bill, according to a senior Democratic aide who claimed to have heard the conversation.

“We’re definitely going to conference,” Ryan reportedly said to Senate McConnell. Both men laughed, according to the aide.

“Put the political hack aside, we are going to conference,” Ryan said when asked about the exchange. “And that’s the point I’ve been making is we’re going to conference. That wasn’t a joke. The person, I don’t even know which hack did that, but if you were there it’s, ‘We’re going to conference.’ Why are we going to conference? Because we’re doing this [the] right way, we’re doing this regular order.”

“Yes the Senate bill is going to be different than the House bill,” Ryan said, saying that’s part of the legislative process.

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Ryan said both chambers will pass their bills, which are being written to the unified framework released several weeks ago, and resolve their differences in conference.

“It’s simply astonishing that Speaker Ryan would joke about the futility of his own tax bill as it’s being marked up in committee,” the aide said. “I guess it’s funny because it’s true, but we’re not sure all Republicans will appreciate walking the plank for this middle-class tax hike.”

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