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Trump to meet U.S. senators in bipartisan push on taxes
September 12, 2017 / 12:44 PM / 2 months ago

Trump to meet U.S. senators in bipartisan push on taxes

Sept 12 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump plans to host a bipartisan group of senators for dinner on Tuesday to make a push for tax reform and other top agenda items a week after he made an alliance with Democrats on raising the debt ceiling and funding government.

The White House announced the dinner with the Republican president late on Monday, and a White House aide confirmed the guest list included three Democrats: Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

It also included Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah, Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania and John Thune of South Dakota, the aide said, confirming a guest list first reported by the Washington Post.

“The president is committed to getting tax relief for middle-class Americans passed and is willing to work with Democrats and Republicans to do it,” the official said.

The dinner comes as the Senate begins hearings this week on tax reform, an issue that Trump and Republicans in Congress promised to tackle on the campaign trail last year.

Trump is trying to persuade Democrats to support his push to cut tax rates and simplify the tax code this year, a plan critical to bolstering Republicans heading into 2018 congressional elections.

Last month, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer laid out his party’s demands for any bipartisan tax reform package in a letter to the president signed by 43 Senate Democrats and two independents.

But Donnelly, Heitkamp and Manchin, who face re-election in states that Trump won easily in the 2016 presidential election, did not sign it.

The White House saw that as a sign that they are “more open to working with us,” the White House official said.

The dinner is the latest sign the president is willing to work with Democrats in Congress.

Last Wednesday, he stunned fellow Republicans by making a deal with Democrats to extend the U.S. debt limit and provide government funding until Dec. 8.

Heitkamp also traveled with the president on Air Force One on Wednesday to a tax event in her home state. She and Manchin had been in the running for a Cabinet position earlier in Trump’s administration.

Trump last week also signaled willingness to work with Democrats to end congressional battles over the debt limit. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Brendan O‘Brien; Editing by Susan Heavey and Chizu Nomiyama)

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