The White House on Wednesday proposed comprehensive tax reform that would end most deductions, kill the inheritance death tax, double the standard deduction, and simplify the system into three tax brackets, including 15 percent for corporations.
The plan unveiled by Treasury Secretary Michael Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn would cut the top personal income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent and double the standard deduction to $24,000.
The plan to lower the tax rate for corporations would be more than a 50 percent cut from the current 35 percent corporate rate.
“This will be a massive tax cut for businesses,” Mnuchin said at a White House press conference. “We will lower the business rate to 15 percent. There’s a one-time tax on overseas profits, which will bring back trillions to be invested in the United States.”
The plan would pay for itself in growth and different deductions and closing loopholes, they said, adding that the deficit grew from $10 trillion to $20 trillion in the last administration.
Cohn and Mnuchin said no legislation has been produced and details are being worked out with congressional leaders.
The so-called “death tax” on inheritances would end immediately as would all tax deductions aside from mortgage interest and charitable tax deductions. The New York Times reported on its subscription website that “a corporate tax of 20 percent or lower is also a top priority of the National Association of Manufacturers and music to the ears of gas and oil companies.”
TAX PROPOSAL GAINS SUPPORT
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons issued a statement on President Donald Trump’s proposed tax reform plan:
“President Trump has listened to those who feel they work harder today for less or are out of a job. The president delivered on his commitment to put the force of the White House behind policies that will grow the manufacturing economy in the United States and raise standards of living for everyone in our country.
“By modernizing our tax code and making it more competitive, manufacturers – and all businesses – will find it easier to invest their next dollar and create their next job here in the United States. It can mean more jobs, better jobs and more money in their paychecks. It means lifting more people up and empowering more Americans to improve their lives.
“Manufacturers are committed to working with the administration and Congress to ensure the best possible pro-growth tax reform plan reaches President Trump’s desk. The NAM has waited decades for tax reform, and the need is more urgent than ever.”
FORMER CHIEF TO REP. ROBY NOMINATED AS ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
President Trump has nominated former Alabama congressional aide Stephen Boyd as an assistant U.S. Attorney General. His nomination is subject to U.S. Senate consideration.
He has been the chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery. In a statement, Rep. Roby said there is no one better suited than Boyd to serve in the position.
“Stephen possesses a keen intellect, conducts himself with the utmost professionalism and decorum, and he works extremely hard,” Rep. Roby said. “Above all, the primary reason he is so well suited for this important role is this: Stephen Boyd will do the right thing.”
Boyd currently serves as the Chief of Staff of the Office of Legal Policy (OLP) at the U.S. Department of Justice. Before that, he worked for more than 12 years on Capitol Hill, serving as senior staff for members in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
In addition to being chief of staff for Rep. Roby, he was communications director for then-U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, and the Senate Judiciary Committee where he led communications efforts for the high-profile nominations of two U.S. Supreme Court justices. He served as Sen. Sessions’ spokesperson, speechwriter, and top media advisor.
Boyd earned a law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law in 2004 and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alabama in 2001.
SENATE CONFIRMS TRUMP’S LABOR SECRETARY NOMINEE
The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Alex Acosta as President Trump’s secretary of labor on a 60-38 vote. Alabama senators Richard Shelby and Luther Strange both voted to confirm Acosta.
Labor secretary is the last Cabinet post for Trump to fill. Once he takes office as the nation’s 27th Labor Secretary, the son of Cuban immigrants will lead a sprawling agency that enforces more than 180 federal laws covering about 10 million employers and 125 million workers, USA Today reported.
Acosta has been a federal prosecutor, a civil rights chief at the Justice Department and a member of the National Labor Relations Board.
A coalition of manufacturers and construction trade groups led by the National Association of Manufacturers had urged the Senate to act positively on Acosta’s nomination.
“Mr. Acosta is an exceptional choice to lead the Department of Labor,” they said in a statement. “As a dedicated public servant, Mr. Acosta brings unique experience and first-hand knowledge of the complex labor issues facing employers and employees.
“Mr. Acosta has a proven track record of protecting American workers and job creators and we are confident he will work with manufacturers to eliminate the $81.6 million in labor regulatory costs imposed under President Obama’s administration,” the coalition said in an open letter to senators.
PRESIDENT’S TRADE REP APPROVED BY SENATE COMMITTEE
The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday approved President Trump’s choice for U.S. trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, to the job that is considered Cabinet-level. The Senate could vote on Lighthizer’s nomination in early May.
He would represent the Administration in its planned renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Lighthizer, an experienced trade negotiator, would coordinate U.S. trade policy and resolve disagreements.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
U.S. Chamber Applauds Bipartisan Introduction of the ‘Regulatory Accountability Act’
U.S. Chamber (4/26) “U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley issued the following statement today after introduction of the ‘Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017’ (RAA) in the U.S. Senate:
“The business community asked the U.S. Senate to take action to make regulatory reform a reality this year, and they answered that call today. The rules governing the federal regulatory system were written in the Truman administration, with few updates since then. Now, under the Trump administration, it’s past time to modernize the process.
“The Regulatory Accountability Act would increase scrutiny of the most expensive rules that cut across industries and sectors, requiring greater transparency and agency accountability. We encourage all Senators to support this bipartisan reform legislation that can encourage business expansion, spur job creation, and ultimately help grow the American economy.
“On February 6, 2017, more than 600 business groups – including trade associations and state and local chambers of commerce – sent a letter to Senate leadership urging them to take up RAA. The House passed the RAA with a bipartisan vote of 238-183 on January 11, 2017.”
House, Senate Advance Short-Term Funding
Washington Post (Snell, Acosta, O’Keefe 4/28) “A short-term spending agreement to keep the federal government open for another week passed the House of Representatives on Friday. The Senate is expected to pass the short-term deal later Friday and House and Senate negotiators are set to work through the weekend to finalize a longer-term deal that would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September.
“A late push to act on new health-care legislation had threatened the bipartisan spending deal and for now that debate remains in flux. While congressional leaders in both parties focused this week on keeping the government open, Trump, Vice President Pence and other top administration officials launched dual attempts to pressure Republican lawmakers into a new agreement to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.”