Trump team preparing 'historic' tax reform

Trump team preparing 'historic' tax reform
© Getty

President Trump said Tuesday that his economic team is working on "historic tax reform," though he didn't directly weigh in on a controversial proposal from congressional Republicans.

The Trump team's reform plan "will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone" and "will provide massive tax relief for the middle class," the president said during an address to a joint session of Congress.

“President Trump’s plan to grow our economy will work because it focuses on a middle-income tax cut for working families and an end to regulations that are stifling job creation," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

"We must simplify the tax code, reduce business tax rates, and make America competitive in the global economy."

The Trump administration and congressional Republicans have made it their goal to pass tax reform by August, but a number of GOP lawmakers have come out against House Republicans' so called border-adjustment proposal to tax imports and exempt exports.

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Supporters of the proposal argue that it would end an advantage for foreign-made products over American-made goods, while opponents say the measure would lead to higher prices for consumers.

Trump has not taken a clear stance on the border-adjustment tax and did not explicitly mention the proposal in his speech on Tuesday. But he said "we must create a level playing field for American companies and our workers." 

"Currently, when we ship products out of America, many other countries make us pay very high tariffs and taxes — but when foreign companies ship their products into America, we charge them nothing or almost nothing," he said.

Trump said that Harley-Davidson officials told him that they find it hard to do business with other countries because their goods face high taxes overseas.

"They weren't even asking for change. But I am," Trump said. "I believe strongly in free trade but it also has to be fair trade."