Ryan: 20 percent corporate tax rate 'very realistic'

Ryan: 20 percent corporate tax rate 'very realistic'
© Keren Carrion

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBudowsky: Why I back Kennedy, praise Markey Democratic super PAC quotes Reagan in anti-Trump ad set to air on Fox News: 'Are you better off?' Trump lashes out at Reagan Foundation after fundraising request MORE (R-Wis.) said Thursday that a 20 percent corporate tax rate is "very realistic," despite news reports that the rate could end up higher than that.

"That's the plan that we put in the House, and there are other ways of getting to that rate than just the House blueprint plan," Ryan said at a news conference at a New Balance factory in Massachusetts.

The tax-reform blueprint Ryan released last year proposed lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, while the one-page tax plan the White House released in April called for a 15 percent corporate rate. But Politico reported this week that the White House is now discussing a rate in the low 20 percent range.

The House blueprint pays for lowered tax rates in parts through its border-adjustment proposal to tax imports and exempt exports. But that proposal has faced considerable pushback from GOP lawmakers, retailers and conservative groups.

Ryan said that the congressional tax-writing committees are examining the tradeoffs needed to slash the corporate tax rate.

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"Our tax-writers are running their numbers to look at how can we get these rates as low as possible," he said. "And there are various ways of doing that."

Ryan has been meeting regularly with other GOP congressional leaders and administration officials to reach an agreement on a tax reform framework. But the speaker said that the actual legislation will be written by the congressional tax-writing committees after the House, Senate and White House release their unified plan.

"We're very, very well on our way," he said. 

Before the news conference, Ryan participated in a roundtable with business leaders and local politicians at the New Balance factory, toured the facility and delivered remarks to employees. In his remarks, the speaker told the audience that they should not fall for the cynicism about tax reform in Washington.

"We're going to get this done in 2017," he said. "We're going to get this done because we have to get this done."

Ryan argued that tax reform is important to improve the business climate in the U.S. He spoke favorably about New Balance, which makes products domestically. But he said places like the factory are "more the exception than the rule" because of the high tax rates for businesses.

"Our plan is really simple. It is to get businesses competitive again," Ryan said.

Ryan also said Republicans plan to cut taxes for individuals and simplify the tax code.

"Right now, we got a tax code that basically no one truly understands, enforced by an agency that no one really likes: the Internal Revenue Service," he said.