Pres­i­dent calls for a deeper tax cut for wealthy

He urges end­ing in­di­vid­ual man­date in health care law

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - NATION & WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Mon­day threw him­self into the de­bate over con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans’ ef­forts to re­vamp the na­tion’s tax code, call­ing for a steeper tax cut for wealthy Amer­i­cans and press­ing to add a con­tentious health care change to the mix.

An anal­y­sis showed, mean­while, that the Se­nate ver­sion of the leg­is­la­tion would ac­tu­ally in­crease taxes for some 13.8 mil­lion U.S. house­holds earn­ing less than $200,000 a year.

In a tweet, Trump com­mended GOP lead­ers for get­ting the tax over­haul leg­is­la­tion closer to pas­sage in re­cent weeks and said, “Cut top rate to 35% w/all of the rest go­ing to mid­dle in­come cuts?”

That puts him at odds with the House leg­is­la­tion that leaves the top rate at 39.6 per­cent and the Se­nate bill as writ­ten, with the top rate at 38.5 per­cent.

Trump also said, “Now how about end­ing the un­fair & highly un­pop­u­lar in­di­vid­ual man­date in (Obama)care and re­duc­ing taxes even fur­ther?”

The leg­is­la­tion would steeply cut cor­po­rate taxes, dou­ble the stan­dard de­duc­tion used by most Amer­i­cans, and limit or re­peal com­pletely the fed­eral de­duc­tion for state and lo­cal prop­erty, in­come and sales taxes. It car­ries high po­lit­i­cal stakes for Trump and Repub­li­can lead­ers in Congress, who view pas­sage of tax cuts as Rep.

R-Texas, has pledged to fight for the prop­erty tax de­duc­tion.

crit­i­cal to the GOP’s suc­cess at the polls next year.

Trump and the Repub­li­cans have pro­moted the leg­is­la­tion as a boon to the mid­dle class, bring­ing tax re­lief to peo­ple with mod­er­ate in­comes and boost­ing the econ­omy to cre­ate jobs.

Yet a con­gres­sional anal­y­sis finds that the Se­nate mea­sure would ac­tu­ally in­crease taxes in 2019 for 13.8 mil­lion house­holds earn­ing less than $200,000 a year. That group, about 10 per­cent of all tax­pay­ers, would face tax in­creases of $100 to $500 in 2019, the non­par­ti­san Joint Com­mit­tee on Tax­a­tion found. There also would be in­creases greater than $500 for a num­ber of tax­pay­ers, es­pe­cially those with in­comes be­tween $75,000 and $200,000. By 2025, 21.4 mil­lion house­holds would have steeper tax bills.

The an­a­lysts found a sim­i­lar mag­ni­tude of tax in­creases un­der the House bill.

The new­est anal­y­sis was pro­vided as the Se­nate’s tax-writ­ing com­mit­tee be­gan wad­ing through the Se­nate mea­sure Mon­day. The House is ex­pected to vote on its bill Thurs­day. The House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee ap­proved it last week on a party-line 24-16 vote.

With few votes to spare, Repub­li­can lead­ers hope to fi­nal­ize a tax over­haul by Christ­mas and send the leg­is­la­tion to Trump for his sig­na­ture. House lead­ers have com­pro­mised with some rank-and-file Repub­li­cans in hopes of pass­ing their ver­sion of the bill this week.

Trump’s tweet in­jects a de­gree of un­cer­tainty in the process as the GOP tries to de­liver on the pres­i­dent’s top leg­isla­tive pri­or­ity and hold on to ma­jori­ties in next year’s midterm elec­tions.

Nei­ther bill in­cludes a re­peal of the so-called in­di­vid­ual man­date of Barack Obama’s Af­ford­able Care Act, the re­quire­ment that Amer­i­cans get health in­sur­ance or face a penalty. Sev­eral top Repub­li­cans have warned that in­clud­ing the pro­vi­sion would draw op­po­si­tion and make pas­sage tougher.

Un­der­scor­ing the dif­fi­culty, the chair­man of the House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee, Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said Sun­day that he was cer­tain that his cham­ber will not go along with the Se­nate’s pro­posal to elim­i­nate the de­duc­tion for prop­erty taxes.

Among the big­gest dif­fer­ences in the two bills: The House bill would al­low home­own­ers to deduct up to $10,000 in prop­erty taxes, while the Se­nate pro­posal un­veiled by GOP lead­ers last week would elim­i­nate the en­tire de­duc­tion.

The de­duc­tion is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant to res­i­dents in states with high prop­erty val­ues or tax rates, such as New Jer­sey, Illi­nois, Cal­i­for­nia and New York. Brady said he was com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that the de­duc­tion stays in the fi­nal pack­age.

Democrats are solidly op­posed to the GOP re­vamp.

Kevin Brady,

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