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Trump Team Hands the Ball Off, Again

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Trump Team Hands the Ball Off, Again

The Trump administration does not plan to release its own tax reform plan and is trusting in the congressional leadership and their tax-writing committees, a senior administration official said on Thursday. This decision runs counter to what the White House promised earlier this summer.

President Trump repeated promises to deliver the biggest tax cut in American history. The administration said they would release a full tax plan when the Congress returned from their summer recess, but now they will hand off the specifics of a tax reform to congressional committees.

“Our plan is to have a full-blown release of the plan in the beginning of September, with being able to vote and getting this passed before the end of the year,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told ABC’s “This Week” in July.

Instead, the new plan seems to be for the so-called Big Six tax reform negotiators to turn over what they have previously done to the committees in Congress and let them finish the task. The Big Six team includes Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch.

This move seems to be politically motivated. Powerful lobbying groups guard all the deductions left to be debated and protected by taxpayers. Handling the specific decisions that are left to Congress may enable the White House to avoid the political fallout from necessary new changes in tax reform.

The message from the White House has been unspecific and inconsistent. President Trump initially said that he wanted a corporate rate of 15 percent, but that is widely viewed as impossible to reach with a significant impact on annual deficits. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has hinted at a possible roll out on tax reform from the White House:

“We’re going to look at a lot of different ways in which to talk about that and present that to the American people, working with Congress to make sure that that happens,” she said. “I think that you can expect some of that to take place in the very short order, probably next week and following through to the fall.”

But other White House officials have been much more reserved and cautioned against expecting any formal tax-plan rollout next week. Whether any specifics come from his administration, President Trump is expected to focus on tax reform soon and make a strong pitch for what eventually comes from Congress.

Do you think this move is rooted in political expediency? Do you think the White House tactics will work?

Credit: Politico

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