Trump to kick off tax-cut push with speech devoid of details, White House says

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will kick off a weeks-long effort to sell Americans on tax cuts with a speech on Wednesday in Missouri that aides said will not contain any details on a Republican plan that still is being drafted.

Trump will use the event at the Loren Cook Co. manufacturing plant in Springfield, Mo., to explain why should cut corporate rates and make other changes to the federal tax code, said senior White House officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to provide a preview of the president’s remarks.

“This is not a ‘how’ speech,” said one official.

Trump will talk about the need to make America more globally competitive and the tax code more equitable, by cutting the rates paid by businesses and individuals as well as by eliminating special interest loopholes that benefit the wealthy, the officials said.

The goal is to relieve what Trump will say is “the crushing tax burden on American industry,” they said, adding that he will describe a new “American model” of taxes that puts workers and their families first and calls for business to grow domestically and hire U.S. employees.

But the speech won’t explain exactly how he plans to accomplish that and won’t answer important and nettlesome questions, such as how he would cut tax rates without exacerbating the large federal budget deficit, the officials acknowledged.

Except for a released in April and an agreement with key lawmakers on broad principles, the Trump administration is leaving the specifics to in Congress, who are themselves divided over some details.

The tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee is taking the lead in turning “an outline and skeleton” of a plan into legislation, Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic advisor, said last week. A bill is expected to be unveiled in September.

“The Ways and Means Committee will be drafting legislation and we will be on the road and holding meetings in Washington and elsewhere explaining why it is so important to have tax reform in America,” Cohn told the Financial Times in an interview published Friday.

“Tax reform is the White House’s No. 1 focus right now,” he said.

Cohn and Treasury Secretary are working with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the chairmen of each chamber’s tax-writing committee.

Cutting rates and overhauling the tax code was a major campaign promise for Trump and congressional Republicans, and their aim is to accomplish that by the end of 2017.

But they face a daunting task as they are running out of legislative days this year. The last major tax overhaul, signed by President Reagan in 1986, took a year and a half to push through Congress.

The of the plan that Cohn and Mnuchin outlined in April was contained on a single page with 19 bullet points.

It called for slashing the 35% corporate tax rate — the highest among industrialized nations — to 15%, a level that even many Republicans believe is unrealistically low given the revenues that would be lost. The administration also wants to apply the new rate to small mom-and-pop businesses that file through the individual tax code.

The April plan would nearly double the standard deduction and reduce the number of personal income tax brackets from seven to three, with the top rate for individual taxpayers declining to 35% from 39.6%.

In addition, Trump wants to repeal the estate and alternative minimum taxes, two changes that would mostly benefit wealthy people.

To help offset the lost revenue from the tax cuts, the White House wants to eliminate “special interest” tax breaks that it mostly has not identified.

One break the White House has targeted for elimination is the ability for taxpayers to deduct payments they make for . White House and congressional Republicans also are considering putting new limits on the deduction for

Both of those changes would be a major hit to Californians and residents of other states with high taxes, pricey real estate and wealthier earners. Most of those states voted Democratic in the 2016 presidential election.

White House officials said Trump’s Wednesday speech would be bipartisan in hopes of luring Democratic support. Yet the president indicated otherwise on Sunday, in a tweet suggesting partisan politics was part of his calculation for choosing Missouri to deliver his speech.

Sen. of Missouri is one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats running for reelection next year. Trump tweeted that he won Missouri in 2016 and added that McCaskill “is opposed to big tax cuts.”


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