Capitol Hill’s work on an overhaul of the U.S. tax code “will soon begin,” President Donald Trump declared online Wednesday morning, urging lawmakers to “move fast” on one of his top legislative priorities.
“The approval process for the biggest Tax Cut & Tax Reform package in the history of our country will soon begin. Move fast Congress!” Trump wrote on Twitter. He followed that later Wednesday morning with a second tweet: “With Irma and Harvey devastation, Tax Cuts and Tax Reform is needed more than ever before. Go Congress, go!”
The president met for dinner Tuesday evening with a bipartisan group of lawmakers including Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), all three of whom are considered among the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection in 2018. On the agenda Tuesday was talk of tax reform, an issue for which the White House hopes it can persuade some redstate Democrats to get on board.
All three of the Democrats in question have signaled a willingness to at least listen to the president’s proposals and all three spoke relatively warmly of their Tuesday night meeting with Trump. Manchin on Wednesday morning said the president offered him an assurance that the tax reform plan will not be the massive tax cut for America’s wealthy that Trump’s opponents have painted it as.
“I think they’re very aggressive on this. They want it done. They want it in a bipartisan way. I thought it was vert good for them to reach out to us. We had, I think, an in depth conversation on our concerns,” Manchin told “CBS This Morning.” “The president was adamant: This is not a tax cut for the rich. And that’s exactly what people will portray, but he says it is not going to happen. I can assure you it’s going to be mostly for middle class, the working people.”
Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) rounded out the president’s dinner companions Tuesday night.
Republicans had initially planned to have tax reform completed and signed by the end of last month, part of an ambitious agenda that also included the repeal and replacement of Obamacare and funding for the president’s promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Delays and the ultimate stalling of GOP efforts to undo Obamacare have slowed the pace of the president’s agenda, but a successful rewrite of the tax code would give Trump the major legislative victory that has eluded him thus far.