Trump makes last major pitch for GOP tax overhaul
President Trump made his closing argument for tax reform Wednesday, just hours after House and Senate negotiators reached an “agreement in principle” on an overhaul that could give the president his first major legislative victory.
Speaking from the White House and surrounded by families the administration says will benefit from tax cuts, Trump cast the GOP’s tax bill as a boon to middle-class families and a victory for ordinary Americans over what he described as out-of-control government bureaucracy.
“Our tax cuts will break down — and they’ll break it down fast — all forms of government and all forms of government barriers and breathe new life into the American economy,” Trump said.
“They will unleash the American people, they will tear down the constraints on discovery, innovation and creation, and they will restore the hopes and dreams of the American family. Millions of middle class families will win under our plan.”
Trump stepped away from the lectern to allow the families that surrounded him to speak about how they would benefit and to praise the president for his leadership on the issue.
The speech comes as congressional negotiators are working to reconcile separate bills passed by the House and Senate this fall with the hope of getting final legislation to Trump to sign before Christmas.
The final version of the bill is expected to lower the top individual rate from 39.6 percent to 37 percent and will implement a cap on the popular mortgage interest deduction at $750,000.
The corporate tax rate will be cut to 21 percent, and the deduction for pass-through companies will be 20 percent.
Trump said that if Congress gets him a tax bill before Christmas, as they are aiming to do, the IRS would implement the changes so that workers’ paychecks reflect the tax cuts as soon as February.
“It’s critically important for Congress to quickly pass these historic tax cuts,” Trump said.
Democratic critics of the bill have attacked it as a giveaway to corporations and the wealthy. On Wednesday, Trump sought to hammer home the idea that GOP bill would increase the number of low earners who pay no taxes at all.
He said that middle-class families would have thousands of dollars more in disposable income every year and that the law would slash taxes on small businesses.
“Our current tax code is profoundly unfair,” Trump said. “It has exported our jobs, closed our factories, and left millions of parents worried that their children might be the first generation to have less opportunity than the last. Our factories have left. So many of them gone. But they are all coming back.”
Trump had lunch with the GOP negotiators in the House and Senate earlier in the day. Senate Republican leaders say they have the votes to pass the legislation next week, and the House is expected to follow suit. Democrats, meanwhile, voiced criticism over not being included in the process Wednesday.
A Harvard CAPS–Harris Poll survey released Tuesday found Republicans still have their work cut out for them to sell the tax legislation to the public: 64 percent of respondents said they oppose the bill.
But Trump has been hungry to get a legislative victory on the board after the GOP’s efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare collapsed this year.
The new tax bill would eliminate the mandate that requires most people to pay a tax if they do not have health insurance, a key provision of the Affordable Care Act.
Republicans have been criticized for negotiating mostly without input from Democrats.
Trump on Wednesday predicted the tax bill would pass with “very little Democrats support, probably none.”
“That’s purely for political reasons,” Trump said. “They like it a lot and they can’t say it.”