The White House is ramping up efforts to pass a major overhaul of the tax code and working to avoid the mistakes made in attempting to repeal and replace Obamacare.
President Trump is planning aggressive travel to build support early for tax reform. The plan: visit up to 13 states in the next 7 weeks to make the case for lower rates, a simpler tax code and incentives for multinational corporations to bring home profits that are stashed overseas.
The strategy also involves visiting states in which a Democratic senator is up for re-election next year. Trump has already tested the idea with trips to Missouri and North Dakota.
Tuesday night, the president held a bi-partisan working dinner to promote his tax reform. He invited six senators, including three Democrats: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV; Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-IN; and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-ND. The dinner could very well boost their 2018 campaigns, as Trump easily won in their states last year.
The president also met Tuesday with his economic advisors and congressional budget leaders, but so far no specific numbers on the tax code rewrite have emerged. Other key elements are still being debated. They include tax brackets for individuals, the corporate tax rate, what popular tax advantages will disappear and even whether the changes will be permanent or temporary.
Congressional Republicans are promising that the overhaul will be "revenue-neutral" – meaning it will not add to the nation's $20 trillion debt.
The president is promising it will be straightforward. He told a North Dakota audience this summer "We need a tax code that is simple, fair and easy to understand."
Trump is also promising major cuts for middle class families and both the president and House Speaker Paul Ryan are championing significant cuts for American businesses.
At a Wisconsin town hall on taxes Ryan told his constituents, "The Canadians tax all of their businesses at 15-percent. Ireland's at 12 percent. England's 18 percent, China is 15-25 percent. The average tax rate on businesses in the world is 22+ percent. The top tax rate on this business is 44.6 percent. On corporations such as Miller Brewing or Harley, 35 percent. So what's happening is we are in strong global competition and when we tax our businesses in America at much higher tax rates than our foreign competitors, they can price us out of the market."
Republicans hope to rewrite the tax code by the end of the year. If not, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the administration would "absolutely" consider making tax cuts retroactive to the start of this year.