Trump gives assurances on tax reform, immigration in meeting with House members

By Congress FOXBusiness

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting Republican Congressional leaders about tax reform at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RC14BA8280A0

In a meeting with a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers from the House of Representatives, President Donald Trump committed to not combining a solution to the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with funding for his proposed border wall as well as guaranteeing the bill known as the Dream Act will make it to the floor for a vote, FOX Business has learned.

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As soon as the press left the cabinet room, members of the Blue Dog Coalition and the Problem Solvers Caucus began to address some of their concerns with the president including, whatever resolution is decided on for DACA, which is set to expire in 2018, that it should not be attached to border wall legislation.

Trump, according to meeting attendees who spoke on the condition of anonymity, agreed and assured them that he will not tie border wall funding to a new DACA bill and that he wants to “quickly” find a solution to the expiring executive order issued by former President Barack Obama, according to those familiar with the matter.

Trump, according to witnesses, looked at the lawmaker who brought up the urgency on voting for the Dream Act as a stop gap for those DACA participants who could lose their work permits and said “It will be on the floor.. you will have a vote.... quickly.”

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The administration announced in August they were ending the Obama-era DACA program, which protected young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and gave them eligibility for a work permit. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement, noting that Congress has a six month period to push through a new law that could help those who are part of the program.  

The Dream Act was sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in July and is cosponsored by nine lawmakers including Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).

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The original bill primarily directs the Department of Homeland Security to grant resident status to illegal immigrants who entered into the U.S. under age 18 or who have lived in the country longer than four years.

Trump also reaffirmed to the group that his tax plan will not be a tax cut for the rich and that some may have to even start paying more.

“This isn’t a tax cut for the rich. In fact the rich are going to stay the same or maybe they will pay a little bit more, but this is not the tax cut for the rich,” Trump said, according to those present.

According to an April 2017 report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a Washington research organization, the top 1% of income earners in the United States pays an estimated 23.8% share of total taxes.

At one point Trump turned to Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), a rumored candidate for Sen. Flake’s seat and asked her if she was running for Senate. Sinema, witnesses in the room said, just smiled.

A White House spokeswoman did not confirm or deny what FOX Business learned from the meeting.

“We’re not going to comment on rumors about what took place during private meetings between the president and members of Congress,” Natalie Strom, assistant press secretary for the White House said.

A spokesman for Sinema could not be reached for comment. A spokeswoman for the Blue Dogs declined to comment while a spokesman for the Problem Solvers could not be reached at the time of publication.

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