EXCLUSIVE: Congressman Pete King Will Not Vote for Tax Reform, Only Tax Cuts as President Trump Prepares to Use the Bully Pulpit
By Neil A. Carousso
In a wide-ranging 25 minute-long sit-down interview with Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY) on the GOP legislative agenda, a variety of pressing national security concerns and the nationwide opioid epidemic at his congressional district office in Massapequa Park, NY, Mr. King emphasized tax cuts over President Donald J. Trump’s promised tax reform and urged Republicans to compromise with Democrats.
“Tax reform, I think, would be another debate going on forever,” said Rep. King, adding, “I wouldn’t vote for it myself.”
Rep. King suggested that his fellow House Republicans feel Democrats will not support any tax reform legislation. He substantiated his reasoning for favoring tax cuts this year by citing former President Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts in 1981 that preceded the Tax Reform Act of 1986 – the last comprehensive tax reform law that included a slashing of the top individual income tax bracket to 28 percent from 50 percent, a reduction in the number of tax brackets from fifteen levels to four levels of income, and expansions of the standard deduction and personal exemptions.
Rep. King is not alone in preferring tax cuts to reform. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R) – a friend and informal advisor to President Trump, and sometimes, a critic of the Trump Administration in appearances on Fox News Channel – wrote an op-ed in The Hill earlier this month in which he called for Republicans to get points on the board with favorable and “easy to explain” tax cuts.
President Trump has proposed a simplification of the complex tax code that has 4 million words and takes a collective 6.1 billion hours a year for taxpayers to comply with the tax laws. Mr. Trump has called for a reduction of individual tax brackets from seven to four with the rates being 0 percent, 10 percent, 25 percent and a top-rate of 35 percent.
The Chief Executive emphasized reducing the corporate tax rate to 15 percent; the current effective corporate tax rate is 39.6 percent, which is the highest among industrialized nations. A 15 percent corporate tax rate would be the lowest since 1937. It peaked at 52.8 percent in 1968 and 1969.
“I think to get it through, we have to get the party in a stronger position and that’s why you need tax cuts,” said Congressman King. “Tax cuts, to me, would be a lot easier to get Democrats on your side.”
Rep. King said the priority this fall should be tax cuts for “working class middle income people who are the backbone of the country” and reducing the corporate tax rate to unleash private sector business growth, and hopefully, the hiring of American workers out of the labor force.
The significant drop in the corporate tax rate and President Trump’s proposed repatriation of trillions of corporate dollars stored overseas to be taxed at a one-time low-rate of 10 percent would contribute to further economic growth. The U.S. markets have been banking on tax cuts, at the very least, seeing gains over optimism of tax cuts coming into fruition after Congress’ August recess.
“I think repatriation is absolutely essential,” Rep. King said. “We should be able to get a certain amount of bipartisan cooperation.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached 22,000 for the first time at the beginning of August, although it has slipped for a variety of reasons, and $4.1 trillion in wealth was created in U.S. markets in President Trump’s first 6 months in office – absent of major legislation on taxes, infrastructure and health care. The President’s executive orders on cutting bureaucratic regulations plus Trump’s campaign promises have sustained investors’ hopes to this point.
“Within a year or two, you’re going to see more jobs being created,” said Congressman King on President Trump’s roll back of Obama-era regulations. “I fully support what he’s doing as far as cutting back on the regulations. They got totally out of control.”
President Trump’s successful removal of over 860 regulations in his first 7 months in office and an executive order he signed on the early days of the Administration to eliminate two regulations for every new one created by the federal government has been a contributing factor in the 2.6 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) growth in the second quarter of 2017.
The economy grew at a sluggish 1.4 percent of GDP in Q1 and an anemic average of 1.5 percent of GDP in 8 years under former President Barack Obama who is the only U.S. president to not see 3 percent annual growth since the Great Depression.
While 41,000 manufacturing jobs have been created in the U.S. since President Trump was sworn in on Capitol Hill on January 20, the rate of job overall growth, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, has essentially remained the same – 184,000 jobs per month this year compared to 187,000 in 2016.
Companies such as Foxconn, Wal-Mart, Alibaba, Toyota, Ford and others have made commitments to the “blue collar billionaire” elected President to invest in the U.S. and employ American workers based on the promise of pro-business and pro-growth policies and legislation.
President Trump begins a campaign to garner support for his proposed overhaul of the federal tax system Wednesday when he visits Missouri – a state Mr. Trump won by 19 points over Hillary Clinton in November.
I will also be going to a wonderful state, Missouri, that I won by a lot in '16. Dem C.M. is opposed to big tax cuts. Republican will win S!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2017
President Trump tweeted Sunday morning with a jab at Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, who stands for re-election in The Show-Me State in 2018. McCaskill said in a statement she hopes she and the President can “find common ground.”
Congress is expected to begin pushing for tax cuts after the recess. Congress has pressing priorities such as raising the debt ceiling by the end of September to keep the government open.
Watch this reporter’s comprehensive interview with Congressman King on the embedded player above or below about Congress’ legislative priorities and whether the Republican Party will keep their promises, including “repeal and replace” of Obama’s signature Affordable Health Care Act of 2010, which Rep. King said will be “pushed to the side for a while.”
Further, the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Sub-Committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence slams Democrats’ divisive rhetoric over the construction of the border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border that was supported by both parties in 2006. Rep. King emphasizes progress under the Trump Administration in tackling the heinous MS-13 gang that is responsible for double-digit murders this year on Long Island and discusses citizens’ roles in the nationwide opioid epidemic.
FULL TRANSCRIPT: NEIL A. CAROUSSO’S INTERVIEW WITH REP. PETE KING (R-NY)