President Donald Trump on Friday said he will release his administration’s tax reform plan next week — ahead of the White House’s 100-day mark.
The president told The Associated Press that individuals and businesses will receive “massive tax cuts” under his tax reform plan. Trump provided no details, according to AP, but predicted the cuts would be “bigger I believe than any tax cut ever.” He added that the plan will be unveiled “Wednesday or shortly thereafter.”
It’s the most specific date yet Trump has put on the release of the plan. His timing, however, has been off before. In February, he said a plan was coming in “two or three weeks.”
House Republicans, who have a plan of their own, have been eagerly awaiting details on Trump’s proposal. Several controversial trial balloons have been floated, though it’s not clear whether they actually came from the White House. Among them: a carbon tax, a value-added tax and a deep cut to the payroll tax. All were considered non-starters on Capitol Hill, and the White House knocked down the first two ideas.
Lawmakers will return to Washington next week from their Easter recess facing a deadline to fund the government and a possible floor vote on legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. While the funding deadline was created when Congress passed a continuing resolution to keep the government open last year through April 28, the new emphasis on passing Obamacare repeal seems to be a late push by the White House to have a significant legislative achievement it can tout on Day 100.
Trump has long promised massive tax cuts but said this week it would be easier to accomplish if Republicans passed legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare first. Health care reform, Trump said Tuesday in Wisconsin, “just makes the tax reform easier, and it makes it better.”
In his public remarks at the Snap-on facility in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Trump signaled that a tax reform plan would be coming “very soon.”
“But health care, we have to get the health care taken care of,” he said, adding that the administration would “march very quickly” once health care is taken care of. “You’re gonna watch. We’re gonna surprise you. Right, Steve Mnuchin? Right?”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin once flagged August as a realistic deadline for a tax overhaul but has since acknowledged that is “highly aggressive to not realistic at this point.”
He also suggested in his interview this week with Financial Times that the administration has a parallel track that hinges on the success or failure of Obamacare repeal.
“I think as you’ve heard the president say, even recently, he continues to focus on if we can get health care done,” Mnuchin said Tuesday. “And there are a lot of taxes that would be taken care of in Obamacare. I think it’s fair to say if Obamacare doesn’t get done, and we switch to tax reform, there will be some of those taxes that are taken care of, but most likely not all of the taxes.”
During the campaign, Trump proposed a top individual tax rate of 33 percent — down from the current 39.6 percent — followed by rates of 25 percent and 12 percent. The corporate tax rate would plunge to 15 percent under that plan, down from 35 percent.
But Trump has sent mixed signals about a controversial plan to tax imports but not exports, a provision that is crucial to the House Republican plan. Whether he embraces it is likely to determine the fate of the idea.
Independent analyses of Trump’s campaign plan concluded that most of the benefits would flow to wealthy Americans. But Mnuchin has been adamant that the administration’s final plan would primarily benefit the middle class and that there would be no “absolute” cut in taxes for upper-income households.
Mnuchin also said that the tax plan would mostly pay for itself through the robust economic growth Trump has said it would unleash. That troubles budget hawks, who worry the plan could end up adding trillions to the federal debt.