President Donald Trump has made overhauling the tax code the focus of speeches and tweets over the past few weeks and will host another event in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on the issue Wednesday.
But despite a yearning for a legislative victory, Trump nearly sunk the whole plan because of 5 percentage points in the corporate rate, according to a report from CNN’s Phil Mattingly and Jeff Zeleny.
In the hours leading up to the release of the unified framework on tax reform from Trump and the “Big Six” Republican negotiators, the president reportedly was angry about the plan including a cut in the corporate rate — to 20% from the current 35% federal statutory rate.
Trump was so irked about eventually settling on the 20% rate, which is necessary to ensure that the plan’s maths works, that congressional and administration members were concerned he would not support the plan at all.
Trump finally relented and signed off on the plan after aides assured him he could say he always wanted the 20% rate but was using the 15% number as a negotiation tactic. The president has since relied on this explanation when asked why the rate increased.
Given the importance of the tax reform push, Republican leaders are already concerned about the outlook for getting a bill passed. The volatility of Trump, and the possibility he could oppose a plan at any time (see: the House healthcare bill), adds another layer of uncertainty to the already fraught negotiations.
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