Speaker pushes tax reform plan
Outside Mass. shoe factory, protesters decry scrapping the health-care law.
LAWRENCE, MASS.» House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday pitched Republican plans for overhauling the nation’s tax code at a shoe factory, as demonstrators outside protested the GOP agenda of scrapping former President Barack Obama’s health care law and tax cuts.
Ryan traveled to this heavily Democratic state to promote one of President Donald Trump’s top priorities, as congressional Republicans struggle to advance key parts of the presiThe dent’s agenda.
Ryan delivered a stinging indictment of the current tax code, calling it inefficient, unfair and too complicated. He said the tax code puts U.S. businesses at a disadvantage against foreign competitors and overwhelms families who can’t fill out their own tax forms. “Right now, we’ve got a tax code that no one really understands enforced by an agency that no one really likes — the IRS,” Ryan told a group of workers. “We’re going to simplify all of this.”
Ryan said Republicans are working to eliminate tax exemptions, deductions and credits and use the revenue to lower tax rates.
A House Republican plan would lower the top corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. Trump’s plan would lower it to 15 percent.
The White House and congressional Republicans have been privately negotiating their tax package for weeks, with no public sign that they’re near a consensus. Democrats have been excluded from the talks.
“This is a once in a generation moment,” Ryan said. “It is time to cut taxes and simplify the code. It is time to create jobs and grow our economy.”
Ryan spoke after he toured New Balance’s sneaker factory. Outside, more than 100 demonstrators held signs and chanted: “Health care for all” and “No hate. No fear. Paul Ryan is not welcome here.”