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