Dem: Trump administration open to negotiation on top individual tax rate

Greg Nash

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicated at a meeting Tuesday that the White House is open to negotiating on lowering the top individual tax rate to 35 percent, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said.

“[Mnuchin] did indicate that the wealthy were not going to get any tax relief,” Neal, the top Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, told reporters.

A group of Republicans and Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee met with Mnuchin, President Trump and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn ahead of the release of Republicans’ tax-reform framework on Wednesday.

The plan is expected to lower the top individual rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent, but Neal said Mnuchin signaled the rate was a “negotiable point.”

Neal said Democrats would prefer to keep the top individual rate at its current 39.6 percent.

“The concentrated wealth in America is an issue we’ve got to be concerned with,” he said.

Mnuchin has said in the past that any reduction in the top rate would be offset by eliminating deductions so the wealthy won’t receive a tax cut.

Neal said Democrats would like to quickly see analyses of how the tax plan would impact different income groups.

While Trump, Cohn and Mnuchin didn’t get into too many details of the forthcoming plan, they did provide some information about the plan, including that they intend to come close to doubling the standard deduction and want to take aim at the estate tax and the state and local tax deduction.

Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) pushed Trump during the meeting about providing a benefit for child care.

“He assured me that I would love their proposal on child care and that tomorrow I’d be thanking him,” Sánchez said, adding that she then asked if she could get that assurance in writing.

Trump during the meeting expressed an interest in working with Democrats on taxes, and Democrats in the meeting also said that the president said he wanted to work with Democrats on health care if Republicans weren’t able to repeal ObamaCare.

Sánchez noted that Democrats haven’t had much of a chance to weigh in on taxes yet.

“I’m hopeful that maybe after this plan is unveiled tomorrow then Democrats will be invited to come to the table and talk about concerns that we have,” she said.

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