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Speaking to reporters outside the White House ahead of a trip to Texas on Monday, President Trump recommitted to a new middle-income tax reduction of approximately 10 percent, which he said he hoped would be voted on after Election Day.
“We’re giving a middle-income tax reduction of about 10 percent,” Trump said. “That’s on top of the tax decrease we’ve already done. We’ll do the vote after the election.”
Trump earlier had floated a “very major tax cut for middle-income people” after a rally in Nevada on Saturday, when he said a vote would take place “sometime just prior, I would say, to November” — although Congress isn’t slated to be back in session until a week after the Nov. 6 midterm elections.
The gambit almost certainly would require Republicans to retain control of both the House and Senate to pass the new tax cut — leading critics to charge that Trump was attempting to attract some last-minute votes as his party faces strong political headwinds in the House.
Trump, who has predicted his party will do “very well” in the midterms, said Monday he would produce a “resolution” calling for the tax cut.
“We’re giving a middle-income tax reduction of about 10 percent.”
— President Trump
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told The New York Times on Sunday that he was working with Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, to draft a tax plan “shortly.”
“This is specifically focused on the middle class and not beyond that,” Mnuchin told the paper. Trump has said his previous major tax bill, which passed last year, was focused on both the middle-class and businesses.
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In his wide-ranging comments on his way to a Houston to stump for Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump also fiercely criticized several Central American countries he charged were “doing nothing” about the growing migrant caravan making its way to the U.S. border.
“It’s a lot bigger than 5,000 people,” Trump said, referring to the caravan, “and we got to stop them at the border.” The president has threatened to call in the military to stop the caravan.
“And unfortunately, when you look at the countries, they have not done their job,” Trump added. “Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador — they’re paid a lot of money every year, we give them foreign aid — they did nothing for us. Nothing. So we give them tremendous amounts of money — hundreds of millions of dollars. They, like a lot of others, do nothing for our country.”
Trump added: “What happened on the border is caused by the Democrats. Because they won’t let anyone change immigration laws that are horrible.”
The president also quickly touched on news that Nellie Ohr, the wife of Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, claimed spousal privilege on Friday in order to avoid certain questions from House Republicans about a controversial, unverified anti-Trump dossier that was cited by the FBI as a basis to surveil Trump’s campaign team.
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“I think Nelly Ohr is a disgrace,” Trump said. “I think her husband’s not much better. He might be worse. Taking marital protection so she doesn’t have to talk about corruption — she’s a disgrace.”
The president also reaffirmed his decision, announced Saturday in Nevada, to pull out of a decades-old arms control treaty with Russia, saying Russia had been flagrantly violating the deal. NATO and the United Kingdom have backed up the president’s position, even as some Republicans, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, call the move a mistake.
“It’s a big, big mistake to flippantly get out of this historic agreement,” Paul told “Fox News Sunday.”
Trump also said he disagreed with Paul’s position that Trump should cancel the U.S.’ major, multi-billion-dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia, amid mounting indications that the country’s leadership was involved in the brutal murder of a dissident journalist inside its Consulate in Turkey earlier this month.
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The president has said cancelling the arrangement would only encourage the Saudis to seek out other sellers, and compromise U.S. interests. “I don’t want to lose all of that investment that’s being made in our country,” Trump said.
He added that “we’re going to get to the bottom” the the situation in Saudi Arabia,
“[We have] a great group of people in Turkey right now, a great group of people in Saudi Arabia, they’re coming back tonight, tomorrow, and we’ll know very soon. And I’m not satisfied with what I’ve heard,” Trump said.
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