Midterms 2018

Trump’s October Surprise for Dems Is New ‘Middle-Class Tax Cut’

Media falsely suggest president expects Congress to approve the reductions before November 6 election

Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Donald Trump dropped something totally unexpected on Democrats and the mainstream media — a big tax break for the middle class — while campaigning Saturday in Nevada.

“We are looking at putting in a very major tax cut for middle-income people,” Trump told reporters just before boarding Air Force One to return to the nation’s capital.

“And if we do that it will be, I would say, probably sometime just prior to November. We are going to be putting in, and are studying right now around the clock, a very major tax cut for middle-income people.”

The new proposal would slash taxes “not for business at all, but for middle-income people,” Trump continued. “The last one was for middle-income taxpayers and for business, and now our businesses are now coming back because of it.”

“We are going to be putting in and are studying right now around the clock a very major tax cut for middle-income people.”

The president said Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is working on the proposal, as is House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas). Brady (pictured above right) has been Trump’s most outspoken advocate for a second tax cut.

Asked by reporters about the time frame for introducing the new proposal, Trump said, “I would say sometime around the first of November, maybe a little before then.”

Many mainstream media stories on Trump’s comments presented them as if the president talked about something entirely new.

Roll Call’s headline on its story, for example, declared, “Trump pushes new tax cuts before election.” The subhead of the same story said, “But with both chambers gone, it’s a guessing game as to what the president was talking about.”

Trump mentioned the issue earlier in the week, in fact, during an appearance on Fox Business Network, telling anchor Stuart Varney that “we’ll continue with the tax cuts because we have other tax cuts planned. We’re going to do a lot of cutting of the budget.”

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The House approved legislation in late September to make permanent the tax rate cuts approved by Congress in December 2017, but the Senate failed to take up the measure before adjourning for the midterm election campaign.

So it’s highly likely that any similar measure the Senate might pass during the lame duck session after the election will have to be reconciled with the House version in a conference committee. Trump’s reference to “working day and night” in planning the new tax cut proposal is almost certainly focused on the conference committee process.

The House version made permanent both the lowered individual tax rates, along with a provision concerning how businesses and individuals are treated on “pass-through” income.

If the Senate does not act, the individual tax rate cuts and the pass-through provision will expire in eight years.

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