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Trump: Hurricanes make tax cuts necessary

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 9/13/2017 David Jackson
President Trump © Evan Vucci, AP President Trump

WASHINGTON – Ahead of a meeting Wednesday with members of Congress from both parties, President Trump linked his efforts to pass tax cuts with the need for recovery efforts from hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

"With Irma and Harvey devastation, Tax Cuts and Tax Reform is needed more than ever before. Go Congress, go!" Trump tweeted, just hours before the bipartisan White House meeting. 

Trump has argued that cutting taxes and simplifying the tax code will spur economic growth, helping recovery in communities damaged in the recent storms. 

Skeptics note that that neither the Trump administration nor Congress have a specific tax plan yet – the focus of a series of meetings Trump has held in recent days. 

And others questioned the relation between tax reform and hurricane relief.

Economic analyst Stan Collender, a professor of public policy at Georgetown University, said the president has no way to leverage hurricane relief against a tax bill when it comes to votes in Congress.

"Trump isn't going to veto a hurricane relief bill if it doesn't include tax reform and Congress isn't going to be ready to do tax reform when the next relief dollars are needed," Collender said. "More than anything, this shows that Trump doesn't understand legislative politics or process. 

Last week, in an apparent rebuke to the leaders of Republican congressional majority, Trump cut a deal with Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, securing a three-month extension of the debt ceiling and the current federal spending plan.

Seeking to reach out to Democrats he more or less ignored during the health care debate to repeal and replace Obamacare earlier this year, Trump hosted dinner Tuesday night at the White House with a group of senators in both parties.

The White House said that Trump and his guests discussed "advancing the administration’s legislative priorities, in particular tax cuts for the middle class."

At the White House on Wednesday, he will meet with Democrats and Republicans from the House. 

Meanwhile, Trump expressed confidence via Twitter.

"The approval process for the biggest Tax Cut & Tax Reform package in the history of our country will soon begin," Trump said. "Move fast Congress!"

 

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