President Donald Trump urged House members to adopt the Senate’s budget this week and follow through on tax reform during a House GOP conference call Sunday.
“We are on the verge of doing something very, very historic,” Trump said, according to a Republican source speaking with CNN.
House leaders updated members on the Senate’s passage of its budget, which was revised at the House’s request, and the House’s plan to pass that budget this coming week during the call, which Vice President Mike Pence also took part in.
House Speaker Paul Ryan told members that he wants tax reform enacted by the end of the year, and passing the revised Senate budget this week provides the best shot to get it done on that timeline.
In an interview that aired on Fox News earlier Sunday, Trump dismissed Democratic leaders’ assertions that the Republican tax reform proposal will hurt the middle class as “their standard” line and claimed the GOP proposal would bring the “biggest tax cuts ever in the history of this country.”
“I think we are going to get our taxes,” Trump told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo. “I think it is going to be — hopefully before the end of the year, but maybe much sooner than that. There’s great spirit for it. People want to see it. And I call it tax cuts. It is tax reform also. But I call it tax cuts. It will be the biggest cuts ever in the histodry of this country. I think that there’s tremendous appetite. There’s tremendous spirit for it.”
In a USA Today op-ed on Sunday, Trump hearkened back to Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts of the 1980s and proclaimed the “era of economic surrender is now over.”
“We will cut taxes for hardworking, middle-class families,” the President wrote, adding that the United States will “restore our competitive edge so we can create better jobs and higher wages for American workers.”
The op-ed also claimed the plan “will bring back trillions” of American dollars currently overseas, and will raise the average American family income by about $4,000.
On Fox News, Trump called Democrats’ critique that the plan will benefit the rich an “automatic talking point.”
He further zeroed in on criticism of the plan by fellow New Yorker, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“I like Schumer, but before he even knows the plan he’ll say, ‘Oh this is for the rich,'” Trump said. “So he doesn’t even know what the plan is, and he’s screaming it’s for the rich.”
The dig on the framework has been that while it is silent on many key details, those measures it does specify disproportionately favor the rich. Republicans have been trying to market tax reform as a boon for the middle class.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Friday that House Republicans plan to propose a new top income tax rate for high earners in addition to the 35% rate proposed in the recent tax framework negotiated by leading Republican lawmakers and the White House.
That framework calls for just three tax rates — 12%, 25% and 35% — but allows for the possibility of a fourth to ensure that tax reform doesn’t help the rich at the expense of the middle class.
Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday that he believes he has the votes to pass the tax reform plan, quickly adding that he thought Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who voted against the Republican budget proposal to pave the way for those proposed tax cuts Thursday, “actually is going to vote for the tax cuts.”
“I think that other people — you know, we had tremendous enthusiasm this time,” Trump said. “Health care I was told was tougher, but it was close. I mean, so far I would say, it’s not even a contest. And I will tell you speaking of health care, I believe we’re going to get that also. It will be in the form of block grants to the different states, and it will be a wonderful health care.”
Another attempt to overhaul US health care will come “a little bit later, probably in three of four months from now,” Trump added. “But I do believe we will have that long before the election in 18’.”
“As far as taxes are concerned, you see what’s happening,” Trump said. “It’s really doing well — great enthusiasm.”