As Republicans inch closer to passing the first comprehensive tax overhaul in nearly 30 years, President Donald Trump touted the legislation as a win for middle-class Americans and brushed off concerns that it could contribute to the United States’ massive debt -- which on Friday hit $666 billion -- during an exclusive interview with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo.
“It’ll be the biggest cuts ever, in the history of this country,” he told Bartiromo during “Sunday Morning Futures.” “And I think that there’s tremendous appetite, this tremendous spirit for it, not only by the people we’re dealing with in Congress, but the people out there who want to see something.”
Despite some concerns that party infighting could cause tax reform to meet the same fate as the GOP’s failure to deliver on its seven-year promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, late Thursday evening the Senate passed its 2018 budget blueprint, paving the way for the House Ways and Means Committee to introduce tax reform legislation.
Trump has said that the proposed cuts, which he’s said would lower taxes for the middle class and reduce the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%, would provide an additional influx of savings of nearly $5,000 for the average American family.
During an interview on “CBS This Morning” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., discussed the possibility of the creation of a fourth tax bracket. The GOP initially had planned to collapse the existing seven income brackets into three -- at 12%, 25% and 35% individual rates. A fourth bracket, experts anticipated, would likely fall somewhere 35% and 39.6%.
Democrats, led by Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, derided this plan as cuts for the wealthy.
Now, the GOP is considering adding a fourth bracket for high-income earners, possibly in order to ensure that the legislation passes.
“Here’s the thing,” Trump said. “Schumer -- I like Schumer -- but before he even knows the plan he’ll say ‘Oh, this is for the rich,’ so he doesn’t even know what the plan is. And he’s screaming for the rich.”
If adding an additional bracket would help middle-class Americans, Trump said he would consider it -although he said he’d “rather not” have to do so.
In an uncanny reversal of platforms, some have criticized the GOP’s sweeping, nearly $6 trillion cuts for contributing to the national debt. Trump, and members of his cabinet, have maintained that the cuts will fund themselves by unleashing economic growth and encouraging job creation.
Last week, for the first time ever, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied above the 23,000-mark -- a historical moment largely attributed to the business-friendly tax cuts proposed by the Trump administration.
“It’s a great bill,” Trump said. “And we’re adjusting so there’s no way the middle class doesn’t benefit.”
The next hurdle for the Trump administration to cross could be health care. Early last week, the president signed an executive order to help people purchase insurance across state lines, a major blow to the Affordable Care Act. Now, he says, he wants to return Congress’ focus to repealing and replacing ObamaCare once tax cuts are passed, a goal he envisions accomplishing before the 2018 midterm elections.
“I believe we’re going to get that also,” he told Bartiromo. “It’ll be in the form of block grants to the states. It’ll be a wonderful health care, it’ll be a tremendous health care, managed properly in smaller doses where you can really do it much more individually. So I think we’re going to get that also.”