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While Trump's away, Congress legislates?

John T. Bennett, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

Still, other Republican members said the president's absence likely will not provide a boost to the tax bill process in either chamber, as Senate Republicans work largely behind the scenes on their version.

"I don't think it helps. We all met with him last week" during the Senate GOP conference lunch last Tuesday at the Capitol, Sen. David Perdue of Georgia, an early Trump ally, said Tuesday as he headed for an event on the tax push.

"He's very much engaged even now on the phone from over there. He's given us our marching orders, which is to get both of these bills done by Thanksgiving and on his desk before Christmas," Perdue said, adding he has not received a call from Trump since the president left last Friday but knows other GOP members have. And he pointed out that senior Trump advisers have been in constant touch with members as they try to meet the president's deadlines.

Meehan echoed that sentiment, saying, "I don't think it changes the dynamic at all -- the president has been very supportive on the principles of the bill from the beginning."

Of Trump's 180-degree policy shifts via Twitter, Meehan said, "I'm glad that he's not afraid to let us know where he wants to go."

(Lindsey McPherson and Mary Ellen McIntire contributed to this report.)

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