Trump continues to push for bipartisan tax overhaul

President Donald Trump   Chip Somodevilla  Getty Images

President Donald Trump Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

The top Republican tax law writer in the U.S. House of Representatives said on Thursday that he does not expect an upcoming tax reform framework to contain specific numbers on income tax rates for corporations and individuals. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), emerged from the meeting Wednesday night saying they were hopeful for a deal to protect so-called "Dreamers", or young people who came to the United States as undocumented children.

He said any immigration solution must include border security measures, though he said a wall along the entire southern border, which Trump has repeatedly urged, doesn't make sense. (Of note here: President Trump on Thursday said that the tax package being devised will be revenue neutral once economic growth is factored in.) But absent such new ways to pay for the tax cuts, the rates being discussed are likely to meet some resistance from Republicans anxious about rising deficits. That goal may be hard; 45 of the 48 Democratic senators signed a letter earlier this year that laid down three conditions for supporting tax legislation: that it not add to the federal deficit, that it not increase the burden on the middle class and that it go through the regular order process in Congress.

Yet it's unclear what shape the eventual tax legislation will take. Though Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin conceded Tuesday that the administration might not be able to cut the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, it's still Mr. Trump's target number.

President Donald Trump is in a big rush for Congress to approve big tax cuts, and he is using the damage left by Hurricane Irma to argue his case. He's still hoping for a 15-percent rate "because that will bring us", he said, to a level similar to that of China and other countries.

Representative Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat who also met with Trump Wednesday, said the president told the group: "I'm not asking you to go out there and sell a tax cut for the rich". Though that plan may be in flux, various economists have said it would indeed represent a tax cut for the highest earners in the U.S.

An analysis by the Washington-based Tax Policy Center found that under the one-page tax outline that the White House released in April, nearly 40 percent of the tax cuts would have gone to the top 1 percent of earners - giving those households an average annual tax cut of $270,000.

Other elements of the tax plan that Trump campaigned on would also benefit the wealthy, including his call for eliminating the estate tax. And during a speech in Missouri late last month, he warned Congress not to disappoint him on tax reform.

"This is really the consensus of the tax writers themselves so that we're working from the same page", Ryan said during a press conference Wednesday.

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