July 17, 2018 / 5:30 PM / in 5 months

Trump, U.S. House Republicans to talk tax cuts at White House

WASHINGTON, July 17 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Tuesday was slated to discuss the possibility of more tax cuts with U.S. House of Representatives Republicans, who aim to make permanent some temporary cuts for individuals, families and private businesses passed in December.

At a White House meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. (1800 GMT), the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, Kevin Brady, may also get a chance to urge Trump to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss the escalating Sino-American trade dispute.

It was unclear if Republicans would press Trump over his summit meeting on Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki that has generated fierce criticism from many U.S. lawmakers including within Trump’s party.

Brady told reporters on Monday, before the meeting was announced, that he would “make the case to the president when he returns from his trip abroad” that meeting with Xi could defuse an emerging trade war with China before it hurts the U.S. economy.

“I have a lot of confidence that the president, in face-to-face meetings with President Xi, could develop the right fair-trade and lasting-trade framework going forward,” Brady said.

Some Republicans have voiced unease about tariffs Trump is pursuing against China.

A White House official confirmed that possible new tax legislation would be on the agenda of the meeting. Aides at the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax and trade policy, did not respond to requests for comment about the meeting.

Trump and congressional Republicans have hailed the deep tax cuts passed in December as critical to U.S. economic growth, though Democrats have called them a giveaway to corporations and the wealthy that will run up deficits for years to come.

Ways and Means Republicans are pursuing a legislative package, dubbed “tax reform 2.0,” that would make permanent $1.1 trillion in tax cuts for individuals, families and private businesses that were approved on a temporary basis in December. Those cuts are set to expire in 2025.

Trump has also said he is considering cutting the U.S. corporate income tax rate to 20 percent from 21 percent.

The new House legislation is seen as an attempt to appeal to Republican voters ahead of the Nov. 6 mid-term election in which Democrats are seeking to seize control of Congress from Trump’s party. Many Republican House incumbents are on the defensive against Democrats.

The Senate, however, is unlikely to take up a new tax bill before the election.

In last year’s tax overhaul, Trump and Republicans in Congress slashed the corporate rate from 35 percent. Brady said last year’s corporate tax cut sets the stage for other countries to respond with new tax cuts of their own that lawmakers may have to match.

“We agree with the president that we should be prepared, depending on what our competitors do,” Brady told reporters.

But Brady added, “For the president and Republicans, making the family and small business cuts permanent is the centerpiece of 2.0.”

Brady has said he expects to unveil a proposal before the House leaves for August campaigning on July 26, with votes on it before the election. (Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Will Dunham)

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