Evan Vucci, AP Photo, File

Trump says GOP working on tax plan for middle class

By Sophie Tatum, CNN | Posted - Oct 20th, 2018 @ 10:56pm



ELKO, Nevada (CNN) — Republicans are looking into implementing an additional tax break for middle-income Americans ahead of the midterm elections, President Donald Trump said on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters after a campaign rally in Elko, Nevada, Trump said Republicans Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin are working on developing a "major tax cut for middle income people" in the coming weeks.

"If we do that, it will be sometime just prior, I would say, to November," Trump said.

It's unclear what tax proposal Trump was referring to on Saturday, with deep partisan divisions in Congress making it unlikely for a new tax plan to advance following the midterms during the lame duck sessions.

Congress is currently out of session ahead of the highly anticipated election, which is set for November 6. Pressure on Republicans continues to mount as they'll attempt to maintain control of Congress.

Additionally, the politics surrounding passing a new tax cut are made more complicated by news this week of the country's ballooning deficit caused at least in some part by the previous tax cut plan passed by congressional Republicans last year.

Trump's announcement also comes just days after Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris announced legislation aimed at providing tax breaks for low- and middle-income individuals.

"We should put money back into the pockets of American families to address rising costs of childcare, housing, tuition, and other expenses," Harris previously said in a statement. "Our tax code should reflect our values and instead of more tax breaks for the top 1 percent and corporations, we should be lifting up millions of American families."

Harris' plan would give tax credits of up to $6,000 per year for households earning less than $100,000 annually and would offer tax credits up to $3,000 for individuals earning under $50,000 per year.

Republicans passed a major tax overhaul last year — the most expansive reform of the US tax system in more than 30 years.

However, critics of the legislation said instead of easing the tax burden on the middle class, it prioritized businesses. Trump acknowledged his landmark tax legislation on Saturday, adding that the new tax plan would not be for businesses.

"Not for business at all," Trump said. "For middle income people. Now, the last was for middle income and for business, and our business is now coming back because of it."

Trump talks about Jamal Khashoggi

During his gaggle with reporters on Saturday, Trump also addressed the controversy surrounding the disappearance and death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who entered — but never reemerged — from the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

The President said he planned to speak with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "soon."

"I'll be speaking to him soon, soon very, could be today but I will be speaking to him. A lot of progress is being made we'll have an answer by probably Tuesday or so," Trump told reporters.

On Friday, Saudi Arabia claimed the Washington Post columnist died in a fistfight involving more than a dozen Saudi officials at the country's consulate in Istanbul.

This explanation led to widespread skepticism, but Trump said on Friday that the official statement was a "good first step." He also acknowledged that some questions were left unanswered, but said he wanted to wait before commenting more on the issue until he had a chance to speak with bin Salman.

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