- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 13, 2017

President Trump said Wednesday that the tax reform plan will not give a tax break to the wealthiest Americans and they could even end up paying more in taxes.

If Mr. Trump denies a tax cut to the top 1 percent of earners as part of a bipartisan deal on tax reform, it would be a concession to one of the Democrats’ top demands.

“The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan,” Mr. Trump said at a meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House.

“The wealthy will be pretty much where they are,” he said. “If they have to go higher, they’ll go higher.”

The president said the plan for the biggest overhaul of the tax code since Ronald Reagan would focus on the tax cuts for the middle class and creating jobs.

It was unclear whether Mr. Trump was promising not to lower the tax rate on the very wealthy or to keep their effective tax rate the same by a combination of lowering rates and eliminating deductions.

He also insisted that conservatives shouldn’t be skeptical of his attempt at bipartisan deal-making.

“I’m a conservative and I’ll will tell you, I’m not skeptical,” he said.

Mr. Trump has been aggressively seeking buy-in from Democrats on tax reform and the rest of his stalled legislative agenda.

The effort to build unity with Democrats took off after Mr. Trump struck a deal last week with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Later Wednesday, Mr. Schumer and Mrs. Pelosi will be back at the White House for dinner and a discussion on tax reform and other top issues.

His outreach to Democrats irked some Republicans. But Mr. Trump said that he was elected to get things done.

He scoffed at reports that some conservatives were skeptical of his dealmaking with Democrats.

“Well, I’m a conservative and I’ll will tell you, I’m not skeptical,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the start of the meeting with lawmakers. “If we can do things in a bipartisan manner, that will be great. Now it might not work out, in which case we will try and do it without.”

The president said that some of the greatest legislation in U.S. history was passed on a bipartisan vote.

“So that is what we are going to give a shot,” said Mr. Trump. If it works out, great. And if it doesn’t work out great, hopefully we’ll be able to do it anyway.”

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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