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Orrin Hatch: Trump’s new tax cut proposal ‘highly unlikely’

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WASHINGTON D.C - SEPTEMBER 27: U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) listens to Judge Brett Kavanaugh testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. Kavanaugh was called back to testify about claims by Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (Photo by Jim Bourg-Pool/Getty Images)
Jim
Bourg-Pool/Getty Images


  • President Donald Trump proposed a vague new tax cut
    plan, catching Republican lawmakers off guard.
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a top Republican retiring in
    2018, said passage would be “highly unlikely” in the final
    months of the year.
  • Republicans have defended the popularity of their tax
    cuts, despite polling showing little gains with
    voters.

WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch called President Donald
Trump’s idea to usher in another middle-class tax cut “highly
unlikely” to even get a vote in the final months of 2018,
showing little signs of life for the proposal the president
sprung onto Republicans last week.

“You can’t count out the Congress. I mean we could, but I’m
not going to say,” Hatch told reporters on Wednesday when asked
about a vote shortly after the midterm elections on November 6.
“It’d be highly unlikely but it could happen.”

But Hatch noted that if the unknown new tax cuts were to
get a vote at some point in the future, passage was not an
entirely impossible task.

“I think it can [pass], but it would take a real monumental
effort to get it through,” he said. “But it’s always taken a
monumental effort, so a lot depends on the political climate. As
you know, I’ve seen miracles happen before.”

While details of the new tax cut are still unknown, as many
Republicans were caught by surprise at Trump’s announcement
during a campaign rally on Saturday, Hatch said “

a
lot of factors” would determine any kind of vote
happening.

With Republicans potentially losing their majority in the
House this year, as well as having a slim majority in a Senate
already tasked with a heavy legislative calendar, more tax cuts
might be a pipe dream.

Republicans rush to defend the recent tax law’s
popularity

“We are looking at putting in a very major tax cut for
middle-income people,” Trump
said
on Saturday. “And if we do that, it’ll be sometime just
prior, I would say, to November.”

Immediately, administration officials clarified that
nothing about the tax plan was concrete. Treasury Secretary
Stephen Mnuchin said the proposal would not be passed by the
midterm elections, as Congress is not even in session for the
remaining few weeks.

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow
told reporters
at the White House an official proposal “may
not surface for a while.”

All the confusion surrounding the sudden announcement by
Trump prompted speculation that it was to save face on the Tax
Cuts and Jobs Act, which has
struggled to gain favorability
among American voters. In the
Oval Office, Trump
played down
the law’s unpopularity.

“No, it really wasn’t,” he said. “It’s been great. The tax cut
that we had, even if you look estate taxes and what it’s done for
the small farmers and small businesses, if you look at the past —
I’m talking about the one that was passed, we’re very proud of
it.”

Republicans are often very quick to defend support for the tax
law, which has so far been their signature policy achievement
during the Trump presidency.

“I’m not so sure it’s that unpopular,” Hatch told reporters
in the Capitol. “But I think he’s putting it forward because he
believes in tax reductions.”

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