Trump to make final tax push as
Republican negotiators near deal
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[December 13, 2017]
By Amanda Becker and Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President
Donald Trump will make a final push on Wednesday to shepherd a
Republican tax overhaul over the finish line, hosting congressional
negotiators for lunch before delivering a speech in which he will make
his closing arguments for the legislation.
Republican tax writers from the Senate and House of Representatives
worked into Tuesday evening to reconcile differences between the
separate plans passed by each chamber, but key details, including a
final corporate rate, remained in flux.
Both bills proposed slashing the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from
35 percent, but negotiators were discussing on Tuesday whether that rate
may rise to 21 percent in the final bill, lawmakers said.
Tax writers were also still determining a top rate for individual
taxpayers and weighing how to best scale back popular individual
deductions for mortgage interest and local tax payments that the Senate
and House bills treated differently.
"We're still talking," No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn said late
Tuesday of a possible 21 percent corporate rate.
With a meeting of the official bipartisan negotiating committee
scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, Republicans were still trying to
finalize key details without exacerbating the deficit impact of
legislation that could add as much as $1.5 trillion to the national debt
over the next decade, according to independent estimates.
Trump is seeking to sign a tax bill by the end of the year in order to
mark Republicans' first major legislative victory since they took
control of both chambers of Congress and the White House in January.
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President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during his visit at the
Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Mississippi, U.S. December 9, 2017.
Trump will, after hosting Republican lawmakers for lunch, deliver
his speech on tax legislation alongside five middle-class families
who would benefit, senior administration officials said.
He was expected to counter claims the Republican tax plan would
largely benefit corporations and the wealthy by highlighting how it
would also cut rates for lower- and middle-income taxpayers, who
could see additional benefits, such as higher wages, result from the
corporate rate cut, the officials said.
Independent government analyses by the nonpartisan Joint Committee
on Taxation, which assists congressional tax writers, and the
Congressional Budget Office, which examines the budget impact of
legislation, both concluded that wealthier taxpayers would
disproportionately benefit from the Republican proposals.
When asked who stands to benefit most from Republican tax
legislation, more than half of American adults selected either the
wealthy or large U.S. corporations, according to a Reuters/Ipsos
poll released on Monday.
(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell and Richard Cowan; Editing
by Cynthia Osterman)
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