Trump to Push Middle-Income Tax Cuts 10/23 06:28
President Donald Trump says he wants to push a new middle-income tax cut
through Congress after the midterm elections, though he's not offering
specifics on the plan.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump says he wants to push a new
middle-income tax cut through Congress after the midterm elections, though he's
not offering specifics on the plan.
Trump said Monday he's looking to cut taxes by about 10 percent for
middle-income people. The proposal follows the massive tax law that Republicans
muscled through Congress late last year and Trump signed as his major
With the midterm elections in two weeks, polls have shown only tepid support
among voters for that package of individual and corporate tax cuts that took
effect Jan. 1. It provides steep tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest
Americans, and more modest reductions for middle- and low-income individuals
Trump, leaving the White House for a campaign rally in Texas, told
reporters, "We're doing it now for middle-income people. This is not for
business. This is for the middle."
Coming so close to critical elections, the proposal appeared to be a tacit
acknowledgement by the Trump administration that the $1.5 trillion package of
tax cuts failed to deliver the political traction that Republicans had hoped
"This is just a political exercise," said Steven Rosenthal, a senior fellow
at the nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. "Republicans are
realizing they have to do more to help the middle class."
The lukewarm response to the tax law prompted Republican lawmakers to speed
new legislation through the House in September, as they rushed out of town to
face voters, to expand the tax law. The new bill would make permanent the
individual and small-business tax cuts in the law. Prospects in the Senate for
the legislation were weak.
Trump said over the weekend that he hoped to move forward with the plan
"sometime around" or before Nov. 1. But Congress is currently out of session as
lawmakers campaign for the Nov. 6 elections.
"We're putting in a resolution sometime in the next week or a week and a
half, two weeks," Trump said Monday.
The tax cut proposal could be included in a continuing resolution to fund
the government on a short-term basis. Around 25 percent of federal spending
hasn't yet been approved for the rest of the fiscal year, so in theory it would
be possible to put in new tax cuts in the lame-duck session. Lawmakers,
however, already have a heavy agenda for the session.
Some Republican lawmakers hope to pass a budget resolution during the
session --- enabling legislation to be passed by a simple majority in the House
and Senate, as happened with the tax legislation last year.
Details of the new plan are said to be coming later. It was not immediately
clear, for example, how the administration proposed to offset the loss of
revenue from a broad tax cut.
"It is not clear to me if there are going to be 'pay-fors' for this," said
Mark Mazur, director of the Tax Policy Center. "With the federal budget deficit
nearing $1 trillion per year, there may be some concern about adding to it
If there are "pay-fors," that could make congressional passage more
difficult, Mazur said.
Nicole Kaeding, director of federal projects at the conservative Tax
Foundation, noted there have been major tax cuts put through in lame-duck
sessions. Tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush's tenure were
extended in 2012 during Barack Obama's administration, for example.
Without details of the new plan, "It's hard to know what exactly the
president has in mind," Kaeding said.
Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the senior Democrat on the tax-writing Senate
Finance Committee, called Trump's statements "empty rhetoric" and "an admission
... that his tax law only helps corporations and the donor class."
"The middle class will see straight through this scam just like they did
with Trump's broken promise to deliver $4,000 wage increases" under the tax
law, Wyden said in a statement.