Remarks at a Lunch With Members of the House-Senate Conference Committee on Tax Reform Legislation and an Exchange With Reporters
The President. Well, thank you very much. We appreciate it. And I'll be also speaking at 3 o'clock today a little bit more about what's happening with this incredible journey and what we're doing with regard to bringing down taxes, the largest tax cut ever.
But I appreciate you being here today. I want to thank the incredible Members of the House and the Senate, who have been working so hard. We're very, very close to a historic legislative victory, the likes of which rarely has this country seen.
I think I can say, Kevin and Orrin, that we're getting very close. And I know a lot of the folks that we'd like to have here, we said, if you have your choice, stay back and get it done. Right?
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin P. Brady. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. [Laughter]
The President. They were all working and negotiating some final points, but we're very, very close. This bill is vital to the American people for many reasons. First of all, it's going to have a tax cut, the likes of which we haven't seen for, not only business, but for the working families of our country. It's really a tax cut based on jobs and also very good for companies, which also means jobs.
The typical family of four earning $75,000 will see an income tax cut of $2,000. So that's $2,000 in their pocket, additional to spend on whatever they want to spend, or they could save the money also. You do have a lot of families in the old days, they saved money. But they will be saving it in many cases.
Second, the bill is going to cut taxes for American businesses—both big ones and small ones—so that they can grow, hire, and compete all around the world. Right now they're paying 35 percent, and that's the highest in the industrialized world, in many cases, by far. And we'll be bringing that down to a number that will be extremely impressive to a lot of people. I don't think I'll give them the surprise yet, Kevin, right?
Chairman Brady. Yes, sir.
The President. Maybe I'll hold the surprise. But I think you'll be very happy with it. I think the businesses will be very happy. And we'll be able to compete all over the world.
Third, we're simplifying our broken system. It's so complicated that nobody can figure it out. Tax returns that are very, very big and large, and they have to go out and hire companies to do them. So we're fixing the system.
Finally, the plan is going to bring trillions of dollars back into the United States, money that's offshore. And you've been hearing me say $2½ trillion for years. Well, 2½ has grown, and it's going to be a lot more than that, probably $4 trillion. It could be even higher than that. We don't even know. It's so much money, we don't even know how much it is.
But you look at the great companies, Apple and so many others. They have billions of dollars overseas that they want to bring back. Now they're going to be able to bring it back, and we'll be spending that money, and they'll be spending that money right here. And it will be jobs and lots of other good things.
While the media has focused on the differences between the House and the Senate bills, I can only tell you that we have very, very talented representatives right here. And I think I can say, Orrin, that we're very close. Right?
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch. We are close.
The President. We are very, very close.
Chairman Hatch. We'll get it done.
The President. And I want to thank Senator Orrin Hatch. He's been incredible. And Kevin Brady, incredible. You guys have been just really, really amazing. Although I shouldn't say that until they—we sign. [Laughter] We've been there too many times. Let's get the vote first. Right? [Laughter]
But I want to thank my whole team, Gary and Steve and everybody—and Mike. The whole team has been really something special. And, Diane, thank you very much for everything. We appreciate it.
So we're very close to getting it done. We're very close to voting. And our economy, as you know, has surged from where it is when I took it over. We were having an economy that was going in the wrong direction. They can say all they want about the last administration, or even administrations. This country was going in the wrong direction, from the economic standpoint. And you saw where it was—one of the early times we heard about 1 percent and 1.2 percent, and you were going down. Four-oh-one(k)s right now—I met last week in New York City with a very, very fine group of policemen. And they were all so happy about their 401(k)s. They feel like they're geniuses—[laughter]—because, in one case, he said, I'm up 39 percent.
I see all the guys carrying the booms are smiling. Are you up too? Yes, he is. Oh, look at him. [Laughter] He's got that boom. Let's see. He's got the one that's the highest and the closest. So he's a good boomer. [Laughter] But he's got a big smile on his face, right? Thank you. Thanks very nice. You know, usually with the press, they won't admit it, but he does, because he's beyond the press. [Laughter] But I want to—I just want to say that people are up 30 percent, 40 percent, 50 percent, depending on what's in there, and they are very, very happy.
So we think we're going to grow that a lot more. We really think the economy has a long way to grow and it needs the tax cut. It needs it desperately. And all that money is going to be spent on expanding businesses.
And we have so many different things in this bill that are going to create jobs. And for me, this is a bill—very simple—it's a massive cut for the middle class, and it's about jobs. And the jobs are really defined by the companies. The companies are going to be expanding, and they're going to be creating jobs.
You know, in education, we're talking choice. Well, in jobs, we're going to be talking choice too, because right now people go for one job and they don't have many options. They're going to have plenty of options. They're going to look at 5, 6, 7 jobs, and they're going to pick the one they want. And wages are starting to go up. First time in many years, wages now are actually starting to go up. So we have a lot of great things happening, but what really is something that, I think, will really be the capper is going to be the massive tax cuts that we're planning that, hopefully, within a very short period of time, we'll have signed into law.
It will be bigger than anything ever done in this country. Bigger than the Reagan cuts, bigger than any cuts, and it will also be reform. And there are also some other things in that bill that are very, very big that are somewhat unrelated, but ultimately, I think it's all related.
So I just want to thank everybody at the table—Mike, everybody at the table—for being here. And I want to have a very fast lunch so you can go immediately back and finish. [Laughter] Finish it up. I actually feel very guilty having you here. So I want you to go back immediately and finish it up.
Thank you very much. It's going to be something very, very special. Thank you all. Thank you.
Corporate Tax Rate
Q. Mr. President, will you support the 21 percent corporate tax rate? And would you sign at the current 21 percent?
The President. I would.
Q. I would?
The President. Yes, I would.
Q. Should tax reform——?
The President. We're going to see where it ends up, but I—certainly I would. It's at 35 right now, so if it got down to 21, I would certainly be—I would be thrilled. I would be thrilled.
We'll see. We have haven't set that final figure yet, but certainly, 21 is a very great difference.
Tax Reform Legislation/Alabama Special Senatorial Election
Q. Mr. President, after Alabama, is it crucial to get a vote in the next week?
The President. I think it's very important for the country to get a vote next week. Not because we lost a seat. I wish we would have gotten the seat. A lot of Republicans feel differently; they're very happy with the way it turned out. But I would have—as the leader of the party, I would have liked to have had the seat. I want to endorse the people that are running.
But I will tell you that it's—to me, it's very, very—just, very important to get this vote. Not because of that, but because of the—and I don't know what the vote will be. I don't know what exactly the final—we have a margin now of two, plus our great Vice President.
So I really—I think we're going to get the vote, but I will say, we have to get more Senators and more Congressmen that are Republicans elected in '18. And then, you'll see a lot more of what we're doing right now.
Q. How could that loss affect your agenda going forward?
The President. I don't think it's going to affect it. I think we're doing a lot. This is the biggest thing that we've worked on. This also has to do with other subjects. As you know, I won't mention the subjects, but there are some subjects in here that are very vital to the—beyond—I'm talking about beyond pure tax and tax cuts.
But I'm just very excited by it. This is one of the biggest pieces of legislation ever signed by this country. And I can tell you that everybody around this table, we are very, very excited about it. And thank you all very much. Appreciate it. I'll talk to you later.
Thank you very much. Thank you, John [John Roberts, Fox News]. Thank you.
NOTE: The President spoke at 12:40 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to National Economic Council Director Gary D. Cohn; Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin; Vice President Michael R. Pence; and Rep. Diane L. Black. He also referred to H.R. 1.
Donald J. Trump, Remarks at a Lunch With Members of the House-Senate Conference Committee on Tax Reform Legislation and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/331764