Trump Spurs Congress to Overhaul US
September 14, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump is spurring Congress to move quickly to
overhaul the country's complex tax code, but has yet to produce a plan.
Trump, in a pair of Twitter comments Wednesday, took on the role of
White House cheerleader for tax changes, telling lawmakers that with the
devastation caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, tax cuts and tax
reform are "needed more than ever before. Go Congress, go!"
In another tweet, Trump said the tax approval process "for the biggest
Tax Cut & Tax Reform package in the history of our country will soon
begin. Move fast Congress!"
Trump had a White House dinner Tuesday with several senators, including
three Democrats he hopes will join the majority Republicans in Congress
to support tax changes, Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi
Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.
The White House said the meeting was "highly productive, and will spur
constructive discussion moving forward."
It said the tax cuts, particularly ones aimed at helping middle class
families, are "essential to economic growth and prosperity. Through
bipartisan outreach efforts like this, President Trump is demonstrating
his commitment to fulfilling his promises, and that includes producing
tangible results on important issues like tax reform."
Speaker Paul Ryan, leader of the Republican-controlled House of
Representatives, said a tax overhaul, not just tax cuts, is necessary to
spur American economic growth.
"The problem is we have a 1986 tax system in the 21st century and the
rest of the world has already overhauled their tax systems many times
since," Ryan said. "And we’re now on the receiving end in the global
economy with the worst tax system in the industrialized world. So it’s
not just narrow cuts and taxes that will do the job."
He said the U.S. economy, already the world's biggest, "has so much
untapped potential. And one of the reasons, I’d say the biggest reasons
why we have untapped potential is because we’re weighing down our
economy with a terrible tax system.”
Trump's Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, and his top economic adviser,
Gary Cohn, both former Wall Street financiers, have met with dozens of
lawmakers, mostly Republicans, in an effort to create a tax overhaul
that Congress could agree on after Republicans earlier this year failed
to adopt a plan to repeal the health care policies championed by former
president Barack Obama. Eight months into his presidency, Trump has yet
to win approval for any major piece of legislation.
Trump administration officials say they hope to release a tax plan
within a week and that Congress will approve it by the end of the year.
Corporate tax cut
has pushed to cut the country's corporate business tax from 35 to 15
percent, but numerous economic experts have said that such a sharp
reduction is not possible without eliminating or sharply trimming
popular income tax deductions elsewhere in the country's complex tax
code or adding to the country's nearly $20 trillion in long-term debt.
Lawmakers could eventually agree on a smaller cut in the corporate tax
rate, which Trump says needs to be trimmed to make American corporations
more competitive on world markets.
All American workers would also be affected by any substantial changes
in tax policies. The Trump administration and Republican lawmakers are
considering limiting one widely used personal income tax deduction, for
interest on loans people have taken out to buy their homes, and could
also eliminate a federal income tax deduction for taxes paid to state
and local governments. Both ideas could face opposition in Congress.