Trump Backpedals on Timing of Vague Tax Cut Proposal

Lawmakers, staff still not clear on what exactly president was talking about

President Donald Trump is walking back his comments about timing on a vague tax cut proposal he mentioned over the weekend. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump said any vote on a new tax overhaul bill he floated this weekend would come “after the election,” saying a “resolution” would be introduced in the next two weeks.

Trump’s remarks amounted to a presidential clarification of his own vague comments on Saturday, when he told reporters Republicans are “looking at putting in a very major tax cut for middle-income people.”

Still, no one seems particularly clear on what sort of tax cut the president was referring to. 

“And if we do that, it’ll be sometime just prior, I would say, to November,” he told reporters Saturday as he headed for Air Force One after a campaign rally in Elko, Nevada.

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But two days later, he told reporters on the White House’s South Lawn as he departed for another campaign rally — this one for Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in Houston — that he expects that tax-reducing measure to be introduced in the coming days even though both the House and Senate are in recess periods as members hit the campaign trail just 15 days before Election Day.

Before the GOP-controlled House departed for its midterms break, Republicans passed several tax overhaul measures that would make permanent middle-class rate reductions included in the Trump-Republican tax measure he signed into law just before Christmas last December.

Democratic lawmakers like Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have called the GOP tax law a gift for corporations and wealthy Americans at the expense of the middle class. Pointing to the House-passed measures and rolling out another bill like Trump has described would be a way for Republican candidates to try and blunt Democrats’ tax messaging.

House Republican sources were not clear Saturday what legislation Trump was referring to, pointing to their chamber having already moved a second round of tax cuts in September.

“There is continued interest in building on the success of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and constantly improving the tax code for hardworking families and America’s small businesses,” Ways and Means Committee spokesman Rob Damschen said in a statement Saturday, deferring further comment on the president’s remarks to the White House.

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 Lindsey McPherson and Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

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