After getting embroiled in scandals that involve Russians and white supremacists, and after the failure of the GOP’s Obamacare reform package, Americans are asking if the President can keep his promise to pass tax reform this year. Despite the distractions Gary Cohn, the head of the White House national economic council, has told the Financial Times that a speech by President Trump coming on Wednesday will outline the case for tax cuts. The speech will be the first in a series to present the plan to the American people. The FT reports:
“Starting next week, the president’s agenda and calendar is going to revolve around tax reform,” Mr Cohn said in an interview. “He will start being on the road making major addresses justifying the reasoning for tax reform and why we need it in the US.”
The Missouri speech will come just before Congress returns from its summer recess. Mr Cohn said the key Republicans on Capitol Hill — House Speaker Paul Ryan; Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell; and Kevin Brady and Orrin Hatch, the heads of the congressional tax-writing committees — had agreed a framework that would serve as the basis for a bill that will be hammered out over coming weeks.
The ambitious schedule is likely to raise eyebrows on Capitol Hill where the details of tax reform remain contentious and the decision to rely on the two committees to craft the details appears to be a partial shift on the part of the Trump administration.
Earlier this year Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary, told the Financial Times that the White House had hoped to have a plan in place by August that it would then discuss with lawmakers.
“The ‘big six’ have been meeting and have come up with an outline . . . and we have a good skeleton that we have agreed,” Mr Cohn said in a reference to the lawmakers, himself and Mr Mnuchin. “Now it is Chairman Brady’s time to get the [House] ways and means committee together to put flesh and bone on it, and they will do it next week when the House comes back into session.”
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