Pence sells Trump's tax-reform plan to retailers

Pence sells Trump's tax-reform plan to retailers

Vice President Pence pitched the White House's tax-reform plan to retailers on Tuesday, as the administration seeks to enact legislation that cuts taxes for individuals and businesses by the end of the year.

"When it comes to your businesses, our tax plan is going to put American companies, including our retailers, back on a path to jobs and growth and better competitiveness," Pence said at an event hosted by the National Retail Federation.

The White House released a one-page tax plan in April that would lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent and reduce the top individual tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent.

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The plan would also repeal the estate tax, which Pence said would be particularly important for family-owned retailers.

"Death will no longer be a taxable event," the vice president said.

Pence said that President Trump "is going to work with this Congress this year, and we're going pass the largest tax cut since the days of Ronald Regan."

Retailers have been at the forefront of lobbying against the border-adjustment tax proposal that House Republicans included in the tax blueprint they released last year. They have argued that the proposal, which would tax imports and exempt exports, would lead to higher prices on goods for consumers.

Pence's speech did not mention the border-adjustment tax, which isn't part of the White House's plan. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has publicly said that the administration doesn't like the tax as it was originally proposed but is open to working with Congress on possible revisions.

Pence delivered his speech the morning after the Senate's proposal to repeal and immediately replace ObamaCare failed to get enough support from GOP senators to move forward. Pence stressed that he and Trump support a vote on repeal-only legislation.

"The Senate should vote to repeal now and replace later, or return to the legislation carefully crafted in the House and Senate. But either way, inaction is not an option," he said. "Congress needs to step up. Congress needs to do their job and Congress needs to do their job now."

Pence urged retailers to tell lawmakers that they're "counting on them supporting the President’s agenda," including tax cuts and ObamaCare repeal. 

This is not the first time that Pence has rallied business groups on tax reform. He also spoke about the subject in a speech to the National Association of Manufacturers in June and in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in May.