President Trump in the past few days has pledged a “major tax cut” for middle class Americans, though Republican lawmakers say they will be hard pressed to pass a plan this year.
Trump first floated the tax cut last weekend, saying that his administration is “studying very deeply right now round the clock a major tax cut for middle income people.” He later told reporters that he is asking GOP leaders to produce a non-binding “resolution” that calls for a 10 percent tax cut for middle income taxpayers.
Trump’s proposal seemingly caught Republican lawmakers by surprise as they were campaigning back in their home states and districts just two weeks before the midterm elections. Asked if Congress could pass the resolution Trump wants, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said, “I don’t have it yet so I’ll wait and see what he does. I’ll be happy to listen to him in every way…It would be very difficult at this particular time.”
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) has been touting the “Tax 2.0” legislation he drafted to make permanent the individual tax cuts in last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. After Trump’s comments this week, Brady issued a statement saying, “We will continue to work with the White House and Treasury over the coming weeks to develop an additional 10 percent tax cut focused specifically on middle-class families and workers, to be advanced as Republicans retain the House and Senate.”
Congressional Democrats have been hammering Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress for the soaring deficit created by last year’s tax cuts and a massive spending increase for the Pentagon. The Treasury Department reported last week that the deficit hit $779 billion in fiscal 2018, the highest level since 2012.
“Republicans are scrambling because voters saw through their tax scam and understand that it was written for big corporations and the one percent, not for them,” said Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), ranking member of Ways and Means. “This Hail Mary proposal is full admission that the GOP tax law wasn’t for middle-income Americans in the first place.”