By Burgess Everett (Politico) –
At a large gathering last week of conservatives and business groups pushing tax reform, one lawmaker in particular was on the mind of President Donald Trump’s top lobbyist: Rand Paul.
Marc Short, the White House’s legislative affairs director, singled out the libertarian-leaning senator as crucial to the tax reform push, according to two sources familiar with the meeting at the American Action Network. And he advised those in the room to put immense pressure on Paul and make his vote on the Republican budget — required to pass tax reform along party lines — as difficult as possible so he’ll fall in line on taxes, those sources said. Paul is widely believed to be a “no” vote on the budget.
The Kentucky Republican’s outspoken opposition to a leadership-backed Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill and the backup Graham-Cassidy plan helped demolish the GOP’s health care agenda. And now Republicans are worried that the contrarian Paul is going to do the same on tax reform by coming out early and vocally against their work, according to two allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).