Ryan Thinks Trump’s Tax Rate Target is Too Low

House speaker says president wants to push rate as low as he can, ‘and I support that’

Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., conducts a news conference in the Capitol on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts and DACA on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., conducts a news conference in the Capitol on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts and DACA on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Posted September 7, 2017 at 9:21am

Speaker Paul D. Ryan suggested Thursday that President Donald Trump’s proposal to lower the current 35 percent corporate tax rate to 15 percent is unrealistic.

“The numbers are hard to make that work,” the Wisconsin Republican said at an event hosted by the New York Times. “He obviously wants to push this as low as possible, and I support that.”

A more realistic rate would be something in the low- to mid-20 percent range, Ryan said.

“Our goal is to be at or below the industrial world average, and that’s 22.5 [percent]. … And we think that’s an achievable goal,” he said.

That means the rate might end up higher than 20 percent, as proposed in the “A Better Way” blueprint that Ryan and House Republicans campaigned on last year.

[Trump Reaches Out to Centrist Democrats on Taxes]

Ryan also addressed Trump’s decision Wednesday to back Democrats’ debt limit proposal that the speaker had panned.

“I sort of noticed that,” Ryan said of the notion that Trump bucked Republican leaders’ recommendations.

“My read of the moment and the situation is … the president believes — and I completely understand this — we’ve got two hurricanes hitting us now. We’re still in the beginning of the recovery from Harvey. Irma is hitting us now,” he added. “And what the president didn’t want to do is have some partisan fight in the middle of the response to this.”

Ryan said Trump wanted to have a bipartisan deal, given the need to unite around the relief efforts and “he made that very clear.”

However, the speaker acknowledged he would have preferred a different solution.

“I personally believe for credit markets’ sake we should have longer-term extensions of these,” he said, referring to the debt limit.