The White House is signaling that one of the next big items on its agenda is to rework the U.S. tax code, though it’s unclear whether the specifics have been worked out.
President Donald Trump hosted a bipartisan group of senators at the White House for dinner Tuesday and has held additional events where he talks about his pursuit of tax reform.
In spite of the subject’s increased visibility, however, details are hard to come by.
Here is what is known about the tax plan at this point.
Detailing the details
Trump has said that he wants to simplify the tax system extensively, saying any changes “should benefit loyal, hardworking Americans and their families.”
“The tax code is so complicated that more than 90 percent of Americans need professional help to do their own taxes,” he said two weeks ago.
“This enormous complexity is very unfair, it disadvantages ordinary Americans who don’t have an army of accountants, while benefiting deep-pocketed special interests.”
And then just today, Trump noted that wealthier Americans will not necessarily be protected from rising tax rates.
“The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan. … I think the wealthy will be pretty much where they are. If we can do that, we’d like it. If they have to go higher, they’ll go higher, frankly,” Trump said during a bipartisan meeting on taxes at the White House today. “We’re looking at the middle class and we’re looking at jobs.”
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., was among the senators who attended the Tuesday White House dinner before later speaking to reporters.
His three main points about any tax plan: that it focus on making the U.S. tax system competitive; that it focus solely on income earned in the United States rather than abroad; and that it include a real net tax cut.
“It’s really important we lower rates, we get companies that aren’t paying taxes to paying their fair share, and we get the top rates down to a lower and competitive rate,” he said.
An earlier framework, introduced by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, centered on reducing the number of tax brackets to three from seven, lowering business taxes, eliminating tax breaks that mainly benefit wealthy individuals and encouraging the repatriation of overseas profits.
“Everybody has an agreement we are going to move this as fast as we can,” Mnuchin said during a briefing April 27 in which he and Cohn talked through the proposal with reporters.