Politics

Trump’s Big Promises on To-Be-Written Tax Bill

‘We’re going to make it so that it comes out very beautifully,’ he says

Vice President Mike Pence met with Senate Republicans for their Tuesday policy lunch as the Capitol was awash in debate over taxes and spending. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Even before House and Senate lawmakers begin ironing out differences in their tax overhaul bills, President Donald Trump promised working families Tuesday the final product will ensure they soon will “be making so much money you are not going to know what to do with it.”

The president had a small group of Senate Republicans to the White House for a lunch meeting about trade and his ongoing effort to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement. But he could not resist talking up the still-emerging GOP tax bill.

“I think we’re going to make it so that it comes out very beautifully,” Trump said of the still-unknown product that House and Senate negotiators are working on.

The former New York real estate mogul and reality television host let his lack of previous government experience show on Tuesday, telling reporters he calls the House-Senate conference committees“the mixer.”

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“It’s a conference where everyone gets together and they pick all the good things and get rid of the things they don’t like,” Trump declared.

Conference committees have become much rarer during the era of dysfunction that has overtaken Washington in recent years. But they do not always go as smoothly as the chief executive let on Tuesday.

That did not stop him from saying the Republican tax measure will be “a fantastic bill for the middle class.”

“It’s a fantastic bill for jobs and for companies wanting to bring back massive amounts of money into our country. … It’s a tremendous bill for jobs and for the middle class,” the president said of the coming final bill before it is finished. “I think the end result will be even better.”

GOP leaders and the White House had a choice, Trump explained: put the Senate bill up for a vote on the House floor, or “put it into the conference and let’s come out with something where everything is perfecto.”

They chose “perfecto,” he said as the GOP senators looked on around a rectangular table in the Roosevelt Room.

About an hour later in the Oval Office, Trump was surrounded by working families and continued his tax bill sales pitch, perhaps indirectly putting pressure on Republican conferees to deliver on his bold promises.

“These are great families that are doing well and now they are doing much better, maybe much better than ever before,” Trump said. “We have four terrific families. Some of them have had difficulties. Taxes are too high … They want to see tax cuts.”

But the president and congressional Republican leaders have some work to do before the final tax bill is a done deal. They can only lose two GOP senators. Bob Corker of Tennessee said Tuesday he is still working with the White House on revising the measure in a way that could win his support.

Corker was the only Republican defection. He voted against the Senate’s tax legislation Saturday morning, citing concerns over potential impact on the deficit.

Since that vote, Corker has spoken with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn, and provided suggestions on how, in his view, to improve the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday the chamber would vote later this week to go to conference with the House on the tax measure.

[Deadline Looming, House GOP Keeps Talking About Funding Options]

Trump and his top spokeswoman also weighed in Tuesday yet again on the Alabama Senate race, with the president making clear he is fully behind GOP candidate Roy Moore despite a string of sexual assault and misconduct charges against the former judge.

“We don’t need a liberal Democrat in Alabama,” Trump said of Democratic candidate Doug Jones, whom he “controlled” by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

Later, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked if Trump and Moore are in lockstep on policy issues like the candidate’s call for Muslims to be banned from serving in Congress. Her reply: “The president doesn’t necessarily support everything of Moore’s agenda.”

Those comments came a day after the president, who also has faced a list of sexual misconduct allegations, gave Moore a clear endorsement.

Joe Williams contributed to this report.

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