President seeks balance on taxes

Photo: Pixabay / MGN

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump says he wants to lure Democratic lawmakers to sign on to a Republican-crafted tax overhaul plan but negotiators must deal with the reality that any handouts to Democrats could quickly turn into turnoffs for the GOP.

The White House and tax-writing Republican leaders are expected to begin filling in some of the details this coming week on Trump’s plan to simplify the tax system, a legislative priority for the president. The White House views this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to simplify taxes and cut rates, while giving Trump a much-needed victory as the Republicans struggle to overturn the Obama health care law.

The specifics are taking shape. Trump’s efforts to draw in a few Democrats could mean “you’re going to lose a few Republicans,” said Mark Weinberger, CEO of the accounting firm EY. But he added: “He wants to get 51 votes period in the Senate ... so it is possible you might lose a few Republicans and pick up a few Democrats who are in states that Trump won.”

While the plan is not finalized, Trump is already planning to promote it heavily. He will travel to Indiana on Wednesday, and aides are discussing a televised speech, according to people familiar with White House plans.

People familiar with the plan being written entirely by Republicans said the administration is considering lowering the corporate tax rate from its current 35 percent to somewhere in the low 20s. The plan probably would seek tax cuts across the board for individuals and reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three. The administration is considering whether to repeal the estate tax, long a Republican cause, according to these people, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations still underway.

Republican leaders had promised an overhaul that would not add to the deficit. Republicans are talking about cuts whose costs would be justified by assumptions of greater economic growth.

Lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee planned to meet Sunday night and Monday to discuss taxes, and House Republicans are set to meet privately away from the Capitol on Wednesday, according to aides familiar with the plans.

The White House initially pushed hard to overhaul taxes with only Republican support. But in recent months, people involved with tax discussions have found that Republican lawmakers — beyond a general desire to cut rates and simplify the tax system — also have their own divisions. The result is that Trump has been unable to deliver a tax overhaul with concrete details.



 
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