Politics

Trump To Kick Off First Major Tax Reform Effort In 30 Years

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump will kick off the Republican plan to reenact major changes to the U.S. tax code with a speech in Missouri Wednesday, in an effort to galvanize the American people behind one of his administration’s chief legislative agendas.

The president will speak at a manufacturing company in Springfield, but is not expected to reveal key policy details. The speech will likely make the case that comprehensive tax reform is necessary, not simply sufficient, to improving the economy and lives of each and every American citizen.

The White House told reporters Tuesday that policy details will get released in the coming weeks as the legislative process kicks off, but the core of the proposal is likely to look similar to what the administration rolled out in April. The White House also promised that the president and his administration is committed to working with Congress to come to a consensus bill. (RELATED: Trump Releases Highly Anticipated Tax Reform Plan)

The specifics are expected to get hammered out in House and Senate committees, The White House told reporters. In other words, the administration is planning to push tax reform through regular order, and not, as was the case with Obamacare repeal, through the Senate budget reconciliation process, which allows Republican leadership to bypass Democratic filibusters and requires only 50 yes votes.

The speech will be the first in a series of events for the president and the administration as it rolls out its first major legislative push since congressional Republicans failed to deliver a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare in late July.

The administration, in addition to its commitment to the committee process, is trying in other ways to guard against another legislative defeat. The White House is inviting both Republican and Democratic leadership in Congress — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — to meet with Trump Wednesday morning to discuss tax reform.

Trump will also be speaking in the home state of Sen. Claire McCaskill, who is likely the most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate up for reelection in 2018. She has notably toned down her harsh rhetoric against the president in recent weeks, promising her constituents in Missouri on multiple occasions that she would work with the president and the administration to improve the lives Missourians.  The president has already put pressure on McCaskill, tweeting Sunday that the senator stands opposed to “big tax cuts.”

Democrats have hinted they are willing to work with Republicans and the administration to accomplish tax reform, but only if it does not provide tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. The administration insists that its tax reform plan does not include loopholes or tax cuts for the wealthy.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at the event in downtown Washington in late July that the sell for tax reform should resonate with those on both sides of the aisle, and even addressed the argument often floated that reforming the tax code will only benefit the wealthiest Americans. (RELATED: White House Promises Tax Reform In November)

Mnuchin pointed to the fact that the administration’s tax reform proposal removes many of the deductions and loopholes available to the wealthy. “Most people in the top rate, they’re not going to get a tax cut,” Mnuchin said. “This is not about a tax cut on the rich.”

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