Pence: Tax plan might increase deficit in ‘short term’

April 30 (UPI) — Vice President Mike Pence defended the Trump administration’s plans for a huge tax cut, but acknowledged the deficit could rise “maybe in the short term.”

Then, the increased shortfall would be wiped out with economic growth, Pence said Sunday.

“The truth is if we don’t get this economy [growing] at 3 percent or more as the president believes that we can, we are never going to meet the obligations that we’ve made today,” Pence said during an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press.

The federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2017 is $559 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office in January. The U.S. government’s spending of $4 trillion is higher than its revenue of $3.4 trillion. The total debt is $14.8 trillion.

On Wednesday, the White House announced plans for the largest tax cut in history, outlining the proposal in a one-page sheet. The number of individual income tax brackets would drop from seven to three with the top rate decreasing from 39.5 percent to 35 percent. The corporate tax rate will be sliced to 15 percent from 35 percent. Standard deductions would also rise.

Because many economists have predicted the changes — along with a $1 trillion infrastructure plan and increased spending for the military — the plan could increase the deficit by trillions of dollars.

“The American people are crying out for tax relief,” Pence said.

Trump said on Face the Nation on CBS on Sunday that deficits are also “going to be made up by better trade deals” and a “reciprocal tax” on countries that export products to the United States.

“We’re going to come up with reciprocal taxes and lots of other things on those countries,” Trump said. “We’re also going to fix all of our trade deals. We’re going to have a very wealthy country again.”

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Sunday that Trump’s outline “adds anywhere from $3 trillion to $7 trillion to the deficit.”

“Many of our Republican friends who railed against the deficit when President [Barack] Obama wanted to help middle-class people and poor people are saying that this is OK,” Schumer said on Fox News Sunday. “I think it’s going to cause huge problems for America.”

Schumer said he wants to work with the president.

“If he changes, we could work together,” Schumer said of Trump. “But he can’t just dictate what he wants, not talk to us and say you must support it.”

The senator also criticized Trump’s positions.

“He is not governing from the middle. He’s governing from the hard right,” Schumer said. “That’s why his regime has had hardly any major successes with the exception of Gorsuch.”

The confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court was one of the few clear successes of the administration in its first 100 days.

And that includes not repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, the health care law known as Obamacare.

The vice president blamed the Republican-controlled Congress for not coming up with a plan that would get enough GOP votes.

“I have to tell you, the legislative process is often slow,” he said. “It’s the old saying, ‘If you like sausage, don’t go where they make it,’ right? And we are making law here. We are re-making one of the worst pieces of legislation in modern American history.”

When asked when a new plan will be approved, Pence said, “I hope before the end of the year.”


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