Trump vows changes to tax plan in weeks, brushes off Corker feud

Muscat Daily - - BUSINESS -

Wash­ing­ton, US - US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said on Tues­day he plans to make changes to his tax plan within the next few weeks, while dis­miss­ing con­cerns that his pub­lic spat with Se­na­tor Bob Corker would scut­tle an over­haul.

“We’ll be ad­just­ing a lit­tle bit over the next few weeks to make it even stronger, but I will tell you it’s be­come very, very pop­u­lar,” Trump told re­porters in the Oval Of­fice.

Trump didn’t spec­ify what kind of changes he ex­pects to make to the plan. The frame­work that Trump and GOP con­gres­sional lead­ers re­leased last month has been crit­i­cised for adding to the bud­get deficit, and in­de­pen­dent an­a­lysts sug­gest that it would raise taxes for 30 per cent of peo­ple mak­ing be­tween US$50,000 and US$150,000 per year.

The White House had no changes to an­nounce on Tues­day, Press Sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders said later. Af­ter the Septem­ber 27 plan was re­leased, White House ad­vi­sors said it was up to the tax-writ­ing com­mit­tees in the House and Se­nate to fill in the de­tails.

“Our pri­or­i­ties re­main the same, but the fi­nal piece of leg­is­la­tion hasn’t been fi­nalised,” San­ders said. She added: “The frame­work is still the same.”

“We’re work­ing with Congress as they put meat on the bones of the frame­work we jointly re­leased,” Natalie Strom, a White House spokes­woman, said. “As the Pres­i­dent noted, the poli­cies out­lined in the frame­work are very pop­u­lar with the Amer­i­can peo­ple, and we’re work­ing to keep it that way.”

Repub­li­cans have only a nar­row ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate, and Trump’s de­ci­sion to go on the at­tack against Corker sparked im­me­di­ate con­cern among sup­port­ers of the tax over­haul ef­fort that the Pres­i­dent’s in­sults also could alien­ate other key law­mak­ers. He’s pre­vi­ously lashed out pub­licly at Se­nate ma­jor­ity leader Mitch Mc­Connell and Ari­zona Se­na­tor John McCain. Trump has called Corker a ‘neg­a­tive voice’ stand­ing in the way of his agenda.

When asked at the begin­ning of a meet­ing with Henry Kissinger whether the spat could un­der­mine tax ef­forts, Trump said: “I don’t think so. I think we’re well on the way.”

“Peo­ple want to see tax cuts,” Trump said. “They want to see ma­jor re­duc­tions in their taxes and they want to see tax re­form. And that’s what we’re do­ing.”

The frame­work re­leased last month would cut the cor­po­rate tax rate to 20 per cent from 35 per cent. Pass-through busi­ness in­come, such as that earned by part­ner­ships and lim­ited li­a­bil­ity com­pa­nies, would be taxed at a top rate of 25 per cent, down from 39.6 per cent.

The plan would also con­dense the ex­ist­ing seven in­di­vid­ual in­come tax brack­ets to three and cut the top in­di­vid­ual rate to 35 per cent from 39.6 per cent. But Congress would have the op­tion to cre­ate a fourth tax bracket at a higher rate for top earn­ers.

The plan sug­gests elim­i­nat­ing the state and lo­cal tax de­duc­tion, a move that’s fac­ing head­winds from some Repub­li­can law­mak­ers whose con­stituents are heavy users of the break.

“We’re also bring­ing back US$3tn from off­shore,” Trump said on Tues­day. “That’s money that’s been there for years, that wants to come back into the coun­try but the tax sit­u­a­tion didn’t al­low it to hap­pen - and the bu­reau­cracy.”

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump

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