Trump calls on Democrats to work with him on tax reform - before attacking them

'The Dems are looking to obstruct tax cuts and tax reform,' the President said

Alexandra Wilts
Washington DC
Wednesday 30 August 2017 22:59 BST
President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform
President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform (AP)

Donald Trump has called on Congress to put partisanship aside to create the “21st-century tax code that our people deserve” – while also criticising Democratic “obstructionists”.

During a speech in Springfield, Missouri, Mr Trump specifically urged Missouri voters to tell their Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill to embrace tax reform. If she doesn’t, “you have to vote her out of office”, he said, eliciting booming cheers from the crowd.

“She's got to make that commitment,” he said, later adding: “The Dems are looking to obstruct tax cuts and tax reform, just like they obstructed so many other things, including administration appointments and healthcare.”

In a statement on Saturday, Ms McCaskill had said she was “looking forward to working with” Mr Trump on tax reform.

“This is an area on which I’m optimistic President Trump and I will find common ground,” she said. “I’ve talked in a lot of my town halls about my support for simplifying the tax code by cleaning out loopholes and goodies for special interests, and lowering the corporate tax rate”.

Ms McCaskill has signed a Democratic letter declaring opposition to any bill that cuts taxes on the top 1 per cent as well as any measure that adds to the budget deficit.

More than seven months into his administration, Mr Trump has still not been able to secure a major legislative victory. His attempts to overhaul his predecessor Barack Obama’s healthcare law were foiled in July when the Senate’s Republican leadership failed to get enough votes from members of their own party to pass a bill.

Legislators are due to return to Washington next week after a month-long recess. In the coming months, they are expected to try to tackle several items on Mr Trump’s legislative agenda, including tax reform, which the President teed up in Springfield.

“I think Congress is going to make a comeback,” Mr Trump said on Wednesday. “I hope so.”

In his speech, Mr Trump laid out what he hopes to accomplish through his tax overhaul: dramatically simplify the tax code, lower the corporate tax rate to 15 per cent, provide tax relief for middle class families, and curb companies’ use of overseas tax havens.

But Mr Trump provided only broad outlines of what the tax code would look like if his plan succeeds, as Republican leaders in Congress and the White House have have not yet reached an agreement on the details.

However, a lack of specifics did not stop some Democrats from criticising Mr Trump’s gamit, potentially already derailing the President’s goal to “put the partisan posturing behind us”.

Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said that Republican tax reform proposals “would overwhelmingly benefit the super-rich and corporations over hardworking Americans.”

“Under this plan, the richest Americans would become even richer at the expense of middle-class families,” Perez said in a statement to CNN. “Democrats believe that not one penny of tax cuts should go to the 1%. Instead of trying to benefit themselves, Trump and Republicans should work with Democrats to enact real, bipartisan tax reform for the middle class.”

The President said during his remarks that he is pushing for tax relief for middle-class families, “so they can keep more of their hard-earned paychecks.”

“What could possibly be more bipartisan than helping people keep more of what they earn?” he said.

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