President Donald Trump and his administration look to be taking a step back from the crafting of the Republican plan to reform the US tax code, allowing congressional leaders to work out the details.
Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, told the Financial Times in an interview that members of congressional committees with purview over the issue will be making many of the calls when it comes to tax reform.
“In the next three or four weeks the tax bill will be written in the Ways and Means Committee and Congress is going to own the writing of legislation — that is key,” Cohn told the FT.
Other reports have suggested Republican congressional leaders are prepared to take the lead on the issue and craft the finer details of the plan.
The path on tax reform comes in contrast to early assertions from Trump and the White House that the West Wing would take the lead on crafting the plan. The White House was expected to roll out a more detailed version of a one-page statement of principles in April, but that no longer seems to be the case.
In the FT interview, Cohn suggested the White House would like to see similar ideas to those included in the White House’s earlier principles. But he was vague on many of the specifics, like whether the White House would seek to lower the corporate tax rate to 15%, a level for which Trump has expressed support.
The time frame for the plan’s release is unclear, but administration and congressional officials have indicated they intend to release more details or a full plan in September.
But while Trump is turning the keys on the actual crafting of policy over to Congress, it seems as if plans to be the lead salesman for tax reform.
Cohn said Trump’s focus will be squarely on the tax reform process in the upcoming weeks as the details are firmed up.
“We are completely engaged in tax reform,” Cohn said. “Starting next week the president’s agenda and calendar is going to revolve around tax reform.”
Trump is expected to deliver a speech next Wednesday in Springfield, Missouri, to kick off his campaign for the as-yet-unrefined plan.