SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (CN) – President Donald Trump came to Missouri on Wednesday to try to drum up support for tax reform, calling it a once-in-a-generation opportunity and saying change was needed to “bring back Main Street.”
If Trump’s vague proposal ultimately succeeds, it would be the first time the country has fundamentally reformed the tax code in more than 30 years.
The White House and Republican lawmakers have not finalized a tax plan, and have not scored a significant legislative win after efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act failed.
“We’re here today to launch our plans to bring back Main Street by reducing the crumbling burden on our companies and on our workers,” Trump said Wednesday in Springfield, Mo., referencing the historic Route 66 that stretches through America’s heartland. Springfield is considered the birthplace of Route 66.
Trump challenged members of Congress by saying that the United States is counting on them to support his tax initiative.
“I don’t want to be disappointed by Congress, do you understand? I think Congress is going to make a comeback. I hope so…the United States is counting on it,” Trump said, specifically calling out U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
“She must do this for you and if she doesn’t do it for you, you must vote her out of office,” he added.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters before Trump’s speech that Republicans have already seen what happens when they go it alone in a partisan way with health care.
“They should learn from that failure and not repeat the same mistake with tax reform,” he said of the tax plan he believes will overwhelmingly benefit the rich over working-class Americans.
Trump made no mention of how the tax plan will affect the wealthiest Americans like himself.
He outlined his tax reform based on four basic principles, beginning with a tax code that is simple, fair and easy to understand.
“That means getting rid of the loopholes and the complexity that benefits special interest groups,” Trump said, adding that the current tax code is so complicated that most Americans need help doing their taxes.
Next, he said, the government must give Americans the pay raise he said they’ve deserved for years.
“America remains stuck in the past when it comes to taxing business 35 to 40 percent,” Trump said. He said he hopes to bring the business tax rate down to 15 percent because “China is taking us to the cleaners.”
Third, Trump called for tax relief for middle-class families who have been the “forgotten people” for far too long.
“We believe everyday Americans know better than Washington how to spend their own money and we want to help them keep as much of that hard-earned money as we can,” he said.
And finally, Trump said the U.S. must bring back trillions of dollars in wealth that is trapped overseas to avoid a high corporate tax rate.
According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Fortune 500 corporations are holding more than $2.6 trillion in profits offshore to avoid $767 billion in federal taxes.
Trump urged people to unite in the name of common sense and common good to stop exporting jobs and start exporting more goods made by American hands on American soil.
“Millions of struggling citizens will be lifted from welfare to work and they will love earning a big, fat, beautiful paycheck. They will be proud again,” he promised of his tax plan.
Trump added, “Our factories will be moving again, jobs are going to prosper and our country is going to be just like it says on that beautiful red hat – ‘Make America Great Again’, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Prior to promoting his tax proposal, Trump began his speech by sending his support to those in Texas and Louisiana who lost their lives and property in the devastating floods from Hurricane Harvey.
“All of America is grieving with you and our hearts are joined with you forever – we will endure and we will overcome,” he said.