THEY DO EXIST! Yes, Congress still has Blue Dog Democrats within its walls. The group consists of only 18 members, but it could be enough to push tax reform through this year.

These Democrats view themselves as ones who can help “broker a bipartisan deal.” The Hill reported:

“If it’s constructive, if they’re genuinely interested in ideas and making it a bipartisan effort, then the Blue Dogs are certainly willing to participate,” said Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), a member of the group.

“You’ve got the far left, you’ve got the far right, and the Blue Dogs are in the center. And basically, we want a tax code that’s efficient, that works for everybody.”

The meeting took place on Tuesday night with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, and director of legislative affairs Marc Short.

Bishop explained to The Hill that his small group of Blue Dog Democrats will work with the GOP if “it’s going to be a bipartisan process that ultimately is going to work for the good of the republic.”

He also mentioned that the three men have recognized that tax reform “needs to be a bipartisan effort if it’s going to succeed.”

The Hill continued:

The Democratic aides said Trump officials favor a bipartisan approach to tax reform that would eliminate the need for reconciliation, but they expressed concerns that they’d lack the votes in the Senate, where eight Democrats would have to cross the aisle to defeat a likely filibuster from more liberal senators.

“In reality, according to them, they said the political landscape is very toxic and that they’re having a tough time identifying eight Democratic senators who would be on board for something like this,” said the first Democratic aide.

The first aide singled out four points on which the Democrats and the White House appear to agree: Any tax reform package must spur economic growth, reduce rates for middle-income workers, broaden the revenue base and lower corporate rates. The Blue Dogs also stressed to Mnuchin and Cohn that they want the package to be deficit neutral — a goal Ryan shares, since adding to the deficit under reconciliation rules would cause new tax cuts to expire after a decade.

Republicans hold the majority in the House and Senate and they want tax reform that doesn’t require Democrats support. But efforts for the past few months have shown that will probably not happen.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, will not abandon the idea of a  border adjustment tax. Other Republicans in Congress have shouted down this idea, especially since a lot of retailers have expressed concerns over it.

Paul Ryan

Before the Democrats met with Trump officials, Ryan spoke at the National Association of Manufacturers annual policy summit about tax reform. In his speech, he fired back at his allies who have expressed concern over tax reform. From Politico:

“These reforms — these tax cuts — they need to be permanent,” Ryan said at the National Association of Manufacturers annual policy summit. “Every expert agrees that temporary reforms will only have a negligible impact on wages and economic growth.”

Ryan also said reforming the tax code was essential to discouraging businesses from offshoring jobs and corporate revenues. But he didn’t mention the part of the House GOP plan meant to accomplish that — a controversial tax on imports known as a “border adjustment.”

Temporary cuts would happen if Congress does not reform and only cut taxes, which the White House has suggested due to the disagreements among Republicans.

CNBC had more:

Ryan delivered his remarks in Washington at a conference held by the National Association of Manufacturers. Among the principles he outlined: permanent rather than temporary changes and comprehensive reform for individuals and businesses.

He also pushed for adoption of a territorial tax system for multinational corporations. Currently, the United States is one of only a handful of countries that tax businesses on worldwide earnings once they are brought back into the country — encouraging companies to shift their headquarters and profits overseas.

“We are actually very unique in the world in the way we discourage capital from coming back to America and how we incentivize off-shoring jobs,” Ryan said in his prepared speech. “This is not the kind of exceptionalism we should aspire to. … We must think differently, so that once again we make things here and export them around the world.”

Ryan also vowed to have tax reform finished this year.