President Donald Trump said Sunday that he was optimistic Congress would pass a tax plan he could sign by year’s end that reduces the corporate rate while providing tax relief for the middle class.
“I think we’re going to get our taxes,” the president said in an interview with Fox News. “I think it’s going to be, well, hopefully before the end of year but maybe much sooner than that.”
Mr. Trump spoke days after the Senate voted almost entirely along party lines for a budget blueprint that cleared a critical hurdle allowing Republicans to push ahead with the first major revision of the tax code since the 1980s. The House is expected to back the same budget and set a schedule for the tax bill’s release as soon as this week.
GOP leaders in Congress are aiming for a bill that would lower taxes by allowing up to $1.5 trillion to be added to the federal budget deficit over the next decade, but tough negotiations lie ahead over which popular tax breaks will have to be rescinded.
Mr. Trump told Fox News he was not concerned about the plan leading to larger deficits because he believes that cutting taxes and reducing regulations will spur economic growth. “We have so many things in this plan for that are going to be for growth,” Mr. Trump said. “If we pick up one point of GDP, that is $2.5 trillion, it more than pays for everything. I think we pick up much more than one point.” Many economists are skeptical of that claim.
Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that there was little prospect for curbing spending in the current political environment: “There isn’t the political will on the Hill right now.”
The push for a tax cut comes as Mr. Trump and Republicans this year failed to pass a bill to repeal and replace large parts of the Affordable Care Act despite years of GOP promises to dismantle President Obama’s signature domestic initiative.
Mr. Trump said he remained hopeful that Congress will eventually pass a replacement plan. But he indicated he still did not support a bipartisan measure being advanced by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.) that would restore federal payments to insurers for two years while also providing more flexibility to states.
These payments offset insurers’ costs for providing subsidies to lower-income consumers, which help with out-of-pocket costs.
Mr. Trump has said he would cut off the payments this month absent legislation authorizing them. Last week, Mr. Trump tweeted he could not support the bipartisan measure because he viewed it as a bailout for the insurance industry, a characterization the sponsors dispute.
Mr. Trump told Fox News that he didn’t view the bill as necessary because “pretty much we can do what they are getting” through executive action.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) issued a statement Sunday urging Mr. Trump to support the bill and urged Republicans to put it to a vote. “It would pass with a large number of votes and increase pressure on Speaker Ryan to put it on the floor in the House — and I doubt the president would veto it.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) told CNN he is “waiting is to hear from President Trump what kind of health care bill he might sign.”
Source: Dow Jones