Trump launches push for tax over­haul

White House, GOP law­mak­ers have yet to fi­nal­ize de­tails of plan

The Day - - WORLD & NATION - By CATHER­INE LUCEY and KEN THOMAS

Spring­field, Mo. — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump launched his fall push to over­haul the na­tion’s tax sys­tem by pledg­ing Wed­nes­day that the de­tails-to-come plan would “bring back Main Street” by re­duc­ing the crush­ing tax bur­den on mid­dle-class Amer­i­cans, mak­ing a pop­ulist ap­peal for a pro­posal ex­pected to heav­ily ben­e­fit cor­po­rate Amer­ica.

Trump said his vi­sion for re-writ­ing the tax sys­tem, a key cam­paign pledge, would un­lock stronger eco­nomic growth and ben­e­fit com­pa­nies and work­ers alike. He promised it would be “pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker and pro-Amer­i­can.”

True to form for the pres­i­dent, Trump dan­gled the prospect of the “big­gest ever” tax cut and warned that with­out it, “jobs in our coun­try can­not take off the way they should. And it could be much worse than that.”

Trump, who rarely trav­els to pro­mote his pol­icy agenda, chose to de­but his tax over­haul pitch be­fore em­ploy­ees at a man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in Spring­field, Missouri, a com­mu­nity known as the birth­place of Route 66, one of the na­tion’s orig­i­nal high­ways, and one known as Amer­ica’s Main Street.

“This is where Amer­ica’s Main Street will be­gin its big, beau­ti­ful come­back,” the pres­i­dent de­clared.

Af­ter eight months with­out any ma­jor leg­isla­tive vic­to­ries and af­ter a sig­nif­i­cant de­feat on health care, Trump and Repub­li­can con­gres­sional lead­ers face mount­ing pres­sure to notch some sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ments be­fore next year’s midterm elec­tions. But the tax over­haul ef­fort al­ready is fac­ing po­lit­i­cal head­winds.

The White House and Repub­li­can law­mak­ers have not fi­nal­ized de­tails of the plan, and the push comes as Congress re­turns to face an in­tense Septem­ber work­load filled with mustdo items such as rais­ing the debt limit, funding the gov­ern­ment and pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance for the Har­vey re­cov­ery ef­fort.

While the White House has been de­sign­ing a tax plan aimed at ap­peal­ing to Repub­li­cans, Trump sought to cast the ef­fort in bi­par­ti­san terms. He called on mem­bers of both par­ties to work with him on a “once-in-a-gen­er­a­tion op­por­tu­nity to de­liver real tax re­form for every­day hard-work­ing Amer­i­cans.”

“I am fully com­mit­ted to work­ing with Congress to get this job done — and I don’t want to be dis­ap­pointed by Congress, do you un­der­stand?” Trump said. “Do you un­der­stand? Congress. I think Congress is go­ing to make a come­back.”

The pres­i­dent used the of­fi­cial White House event to in­ject an overtly po­lit­i­cal mes­sage aimed at Missouri Demo­cratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, a top Repub­li­can tar­get in next year’s midterm elec­tions.

“We must lower our taxes, and your sen­a­tor, Claire McCaskill, she must do this for you. And if she doesn’t do it for you, you have got to vote her out of of­fice,” Trump said, draw­ing out each of the last five words for em­pha­sis.

Even be­fore Trump took the stage, Democrats ea­gerly laid down their own mark­ers for what the tax plan should look like.

Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Chuck Schumer out­lined a se­ries of con­di­tions, telling re­porters the tax cuts should not go to the wealth­i­est 1 per­cent of Amer­i­cans. He added that the plan should not in­crease the bud­get deficit and should be writ­ten by both par­ties — not just Repub­li­cans like the GOP’s failed health care ef­fort.

“If the pres­i­dent wants to use pop­ulism to sell his tax plan, he ought to con­sider ac­tu­ally putting his money where his mouth is” and cut taxes for the mid­dle class, not the rich­est Amer­i­cans, Schumer said.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion re­leased a one-page set of goals in April for its tax over­haul, fol­lowed by a joint state­ment in July with con­gres­sional lead­ers.

JEFF ROBER­SON/AP PHOTO

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump de­liv­ers re­marks on tax re­form at the Loren Cook Com­pany on Wed­nes­day in Spring­field, Mo.

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