Trump tells Congress not to disappoint him on tax reform

By Ed Adamczyk and Danielle Haynes  |  Updated Aug. 30, 2017 at 3:49 PM
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Aug. 30 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Wednesday told Congress not to disappoint him in his call for tax reform, which he said would be instrumental in job creation.

In a speech in Springfield, Mo., the president promised Republican plans to reform the tax code would benefit lower- and middle-class Americans.

"We're here today to launch our plans to bring back Main Street by reducing the crumbling burden on our companies and on our workers," Trump said. "The foundation of our job creation agenda is to fundamentally reform our tax code for the first time in more than 30 years."

He put the onus on Congress to push through legislation making good on his promise.

"So, this is our once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver real tax reform for everyday, hard working Americans. And I am fully committed to working with Congress to get this job done," Trump said. "And I don't want to be disappointed by Congress. Do you understand me?"

The speech, which was intended to shift Washington's focus from the failed overhaul of the Affordable Care Act to tax reform, did not contain policy details.

Trump envisions a corporate tax rate dropping from 35 percent, currently the highest in the industrialized world, to around 15 percent. The eventual resolution of a new tax code could put the corporate tax rate in the 20 to 30 percent range. Tax reform legislation, if successful, would be Trump's first major legislative victory, and lawmakers have a window of only several months before their attention shifts to election campaigns, The Hill reported on Wednesday.

Tax reform efforts have been overshadowed by news about Hurricane Harvey, as well as Trump's controversies involving the pardon of former Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio, an alleged feud with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and comments about violence in Charlottesville, Va. Key Republican lawmakers and administration leaders nonetheless have spent the Congressional recess promoting tax reform.

In a radio interview on Monday, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said "the president has gotten off-message too often and hasn't been able to be an effective spokesman for his own agenda."

Jeremy Cady, Missouri director of Americans for Prosperity, a non-profit group supported by Republican underwriters Charles and David Koch, said that tax reform is the Trump administration's highest priority. Cady added that a high corporate tax rate deters economic growth and job growth, reduces incentives to invest in the United States and pits small businesses against lobbyists seeking special subsidies for larger corporations.

"Those [subsidies] don't make taxes equitable," he told the Springfield News-Leader.

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