Trump Is Not Going to Cut Middle-Class Taxes This Year, Despite What He Says

Trump Is Not Going to Cut Middle-Class Taxes This Year, Despite What He Says

Most members of Congress are not in Washington right now — they’re home in their states or districts, and largely campaigning for the midterms. The House is not scheduled to meet again until after the midterms. So there’s effectively zero chance that Congress could meet to “put in” a tax cut next week, as Mr. Trump promised in Texas.

Reporters asked Mr. Trump about this scheduling problem before he left for Texas on Monday. His answer did not clarify matters.

Reporter: You said “lower tax cuts.” You said that you wanted tax cuts by Nov. 1. Congress isn’t even in session. How is that possible?

Mr. Trump: No, we’re going to be passing — no, no. We’re putting in a resolution sometime in the next week, or week and a half, two weeks.

Reporter: A resolution where?

Mr. Trump: We’re going to put in — we’re giving a middle-income tax reduction of about 10 percent. We’re doing it now for middle-income people. This is not for business; this is for middle. That’s on top of the tax decrease that we’ve already given them.

Reporter: Are you signing an executive order for that?

Mr. Trump: No. No. No. I’m going through Congress.

Reporter: But Congress isn’t in session, though.

Mr. Trump: We won’t have time to do the vote. We’ll do the vote later.

What Mr. Trump might be saying is that Republicans will release some sort of proposal before the election that they would then campaign on, and possibly vote on later. No one knows, though, and the White House isn’t clarifying.

There has been talk, among administration officials, of pushing a middle-class tax cut bill next year, if Republicans can hold both chambers of Congress. In that case, Mr. Trump may be steering the policy with his speeches, much as he did earlier when he started talking about a follow-up bill to the tax cuts he signed into law late last year. (Typically, it’s worth noting, policies are drafted before they’re announced.) The House did pass a follow-up bill, which made permanent the individual tax cuts that passed in December, but it was dead on arrival in the Senate.

As several journalists and pundits have noted, the fact that Mr. Trump is talking about a new tax cut suggests the old tax cuts — the ones he signed last December — aren’t doing much to motivate or move voters this election.

On the other hand, Mr. Trump has managed to, at least briefly, increase the visibility of tax cuts on cable news, which has basically ignored the topic all year.

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