SOMERSET, N.J. -- President Donald Trump is promising "the largest tax cut in the history of our country" that will slash rates for the middle class and corporations to spark economic growth and jobs.
Trump said Sunday that his "primary focus" is the tax overhaul rather than last-ditch efforts to bring a repeal of former President Barack Obama's health care law.
Trump said the tax plan that the White House and congressional Republicans have been working on for months, for the first major overhaul of the tax system in three decades, is "totally finalized." He was speaking Sunday on the tarmac at the Morristown Municipal Airport.
Trump's details weren't firm. He said "I hope" the top corporate tax rate will be cut to 15 percent from the current 35 percent. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said a 15 percent rate is impractically low, with a rate somewhere in the low- to mid-20 percent range more viable to avoid blowing out the deficit.
The rate is "going to be substantially lower so we bring jobs back into our country," Trump said.
Trump also said "We think we're going to bring the individual rate to 10 percent or 12 percent, much lower than it is right now." He did not say whether the tax rate for top income earners, now at 39.6 percent, would be cut, as some Republicans have advocated.
"This is a plan for the middle class and for companies, so they can bring back jobs," he said.
The plan also is expected to reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three.
Trump spoke as House Republicans on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee huddled privately to discuss the plan. They have promised to reveal an outline and possible details of the plan later this week, after all Republican lawmakers in the House get a chance to discuss it and put questions to the chief architects, including Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, who heads the Ways and Means panel.
Earlier Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a television interview the plan "creates a middle-income tax cut, it makes businesses competitive and it creates jobs." He added that there are changes, too, for the "high end," including "getting rid of lots of deductions." He did not offer specifics.
Trump and Mnuchin have said previously that they didn't want the tax plan to offer any tax cut to the highest earners -- and that they'd balance a rate cut by eliminating deductions that the wealthy use to reduce their tax bills. Mnuchin said in November, weeks after Trump's election, that "there will be no absolute tax cut for the upper class."
Reminded of that on Sunday, Mnuchin said: "It was never a promise and it was never a pledge." But he said again during an appearance on CNN's State of the Union that the tax plan that's coming this week will be "getting rid of lots of deductions."
"The current plan -- for many, many people, it will not reduce taxes on the high end," Mnuchin said. He also said the plan will provide a middle-income tax cut and said it will create jobs.
The Senate's top Democrat, New York's Charles Schumer, said in a statement that if Republicans look "to please their hard-right wealthy contributors, instead of working from the middle, they will have the same trouble with taxes that they're having with health care."
House Republicans plan to hold a conference meeting Wednesday, and public information about the plan is expected shortly afterward.
Information for this article was contributed by Catherine Lucey and Marcy Gordon of The Associated Press and by Jennifer Jacobs, Sahil Kapur, Steven T. Dennis, Ben Brody and Terrence Dopp of Bloomberg News.
A Section on 09/25/2017
Print Headline: Trump hints at tax proposal