WASHINGTON — President Trump and aides expressed confidence Sunday they have the votes for a major overhaul of the tax system, despite a few warnings from lawmakers about certain aspects of the plan.
"Our economy cannot take off like it should unless we transform our outdated, complex and burdensome tax code, and that is exactly what we are proposing to do," Trump said in an op-ed for USA TODAY.
In an interview broadcast Sunday on Fox News, Trump said the legislative setbacks suffered by him and Republicans during their efforts to pass a new health care plan won't affect the prospects of a tax cut.
"I want to get it by the end of the year, but I’d be very disappointed if it took that long," Trump told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.
"So there’s a great spirit for it, people want to see it, and I call it tax cuts. It is tax reform also, but I call it tax cuts. It’ll be the biggest cuts ever in the history of this country," he said.
In Congress, some Republicans have expressed concern that massive tax cuts would explode budget deficits, while Democrats said they will fight any bill that benefits the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, appearing on CNN's State of the Union, said Democrats would work with Trump on a tax plan that benefits the middle class and working families but oppose him if he only wants to help rich people. Brown said Trump is at a "fork in the road" when it comes to taxes and relations with Democrats.
Some tax analysts and critics said the Trump team's emphasis on tax cuts for the wealthy amount to a resurrection of "trickle down economics," the undemonstrated theory that benefits to high earners will work their way down to the middle and lower classes; they noted that Ronald Reagan's administration tried the same thing, benefiting mainly the wealthy as federal budget deficts exploded.
Brown told CNN that White House meetings look "far too much like a retreat for Goldman Sachs executives," and Trump aides keep whispering to him that all they want to do is "trickle-down economics, big tax cuts for the wealthiest people in the country."
Lawmakers have cited projections that Trump's proposed tax cuts would increase budget deficits by up to $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has long argued that tax reform should be "revenue neutral" and not add to budget deficits, told CNN that growth generated by the tax cuts would offset deficit increases.
McConnell also avoided commenting of reports that some officials want to reduce the limits on 401(k) contributions, though he predicted a legislative win in the long run.