- The Washington Times - Monday, June 5, 2017

Getting tax cuts through Congress this fall to boost the economy is a bigger priority than overall tax reform, a top White House official said Monday.

White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said the administration is working with House and Senate leaders to produce a single tax-relief package that lawmakers would take up after Labor Day.

“We believe that the economy needs to get spurred quickly, and we want to make sure there are sufficient tax cuts,” Mr. Short told reporters. “In order to jump-start the economy, we need to cut taxes for both businesses and individuals.”

The president is seeking a cut in the corporate tax rate from about 35 percent to 15 percent, as well as cuts in individual rates.

While congressional Republicans have been aiming at revenue-neutral tax reform in a comprehensive rewrite of the tax code, Mr. Short said “our greater priority is to provide growth.”

Asked if the White House is backing off a more comprehensive tax overhaul, Mr. Short replied, “Right now, we want it to be revenue neutral. We are still supportive of tax reform, but I am also saying to you that what we believe is most important to get the economy going is a tax cut.”

Mr. Trump will host lawmakers at the White House Tuesday to discuss his legislative agenda for the rest of the year. While job growth has been relatively strong so far this year, the overall economy is still showing signs of sluggishness, with growth of just 0.7 percent in the first quarter.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin has proposed a border-adjustment tax to raise revenue in an overall tax reform plan, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said the proposal likely couldn’t pass the Senate.

White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn said late last week that the administration still prefers comprehensive tax reform to a slimmed-down package of tax rate cuts.

“We are really driven to do the big reform and cut,” he told Fox Business Network. “Reform is still part of our agenda. The president ran on a reform agenda.”

Mr. Short said the White House is still pushing for the Senate to complete a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare by the end of July, after the House passed a health-care measure this spring. He also said the administration wants Congress to raise the nation’s debt ceiling before lawmakers’ traditional August recess.

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