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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, November 08, 2017 1:00 am

Trump seeks support on tax plan from Dems

GOP proposal under attack by conservatives

Washington Post

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump called into a meeting of administration officials and moderate Democratic senators Tuesday in a bid to win bipartisan support for the Republican tax plan as it came under attack from several conservative groups.

National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn pulled out his cellphone and contacted the president, who is traveling in Asia this week, according to Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio – one of the Democrats who gathered for a meeting organized by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to hear about the GOP plan.

Emerging from the meeting, Brown said that Trump reiterated to the group that “rich people get hurt” by the Republican tax plan – a point that has been disputed by Democrats who consider the emerging proposals as favorable to wealthy earners and corporations.

Senate GOP leaders are slated to release a bill Thursday that would need support from party moderates to pass.

Republicans in the other chamber, meanwhile, faced new pressure from conservatives to make changes to their sweeping tax plan, days before it is set to go to the House floor.

The president of the Club for Growth, an influential group promoting tax cuts, issued a statement Tuesday saying parts of the House bill “fails the pro-growth test,” while social conservative groups pushed lawmakers to restore a tax credit for families who adopt children.

The group is calling on lawmakers to cut taxes on income over $1 million, which the House bill as currently written would leave unchanged at 39.6 percent. The group also wants the bill's authors to make it easier for businesses to claim a lower 25 percent income tax rate, as well as to speed up their planned repeal of the estate tax, in a bid to promote economic growth.

Meanwhile, groups including the National Right to Life Committee, Focus on the Family and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops mobilized to restore an existing tax credit that's worth up to $13,570 for families who adopt children.

A petition circulated Tuesday to members of March for Life, a leading antiabortion group, said that the loss of the adoption tax credit would “adversely affect families seeking to adopt.”

“Adoption is a critically important pro-life effort, and the adoption tax credit is a significant government policy to encourage and enable it,” the petition said.

The push from the right adds new complications for House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the House's top tax writer and the author of the GOP tax bill released last week, as he moves the legislation toward a planned floor vote next week.

Brady said he was still considering another conservative demand – repealing the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate to purchase insurance. That move, supported by President Trump, would please the healthcare law's opponents and could generate hundreds of billions of dollars to offset cuts elsewhere. But it would create a major new political hurdle for the bill, and Brady has thus far declined to include it in bill.

Brady said Tuesday that the mandate's repeal is an “area that we are looking at carefully.”

Senate Republicans say they expect to introduce their tax bill Thursday, as Republicans in both chambers push to pass legislation by Thanksgiving with the eventual goal of sending a unified bill to Trump's desk by year's end.