President Donald Trump is taking his tax reform roadshow to North Dakota – and this time he has company.
Trump will be accompanied on Air Force One by the state’s Democratic senator, Heidi Heitkamp.
Heitkamp’s reelection battle next year is expected to be rough. North Dakota is a state Trump won by a wide margin. The White House is hoping to take advantage of the political landscape to get Heitkamp’s vote on tax reform.
‘Will be going to North Dakota today to discuss tax reform and tax cuts. We are the highest taxed nation in the world – that will change,’ Trump tweeted this morning as he prepared to make the journey.
President Donald Trump is taking his tax reform roadshow to North Dakota – and this time he has company. Trump will be accompanied on Air Force One by the state’s Democratic senator, Heidi Heitkamp
Heitkamp’s reelection battle next year is expected to be rough. North Dakota is a state Trump won by a wide margin. The White House is hoping to take advantage of the political landscape to get Heitkamp’s vote on tax reform
Republicans are eight votes shy of the super-majority they’d need in the Senate to approve legislation with no support from Democrats. The hurdle is weighing on the White House as it begins its push for tax reform.
The president will remind Democrats in his speech today that their party was in charge of Congress when Republican President Ronald Reagan’s historic tax overhaul went into effect.
If that isn’t permission enough to give him their support to the effort, Trump will bring out the stick, excerpts from his speech indicate.
Trump is expected to say, ‘If Democrats continue their obstruction, if they don’t want to bring back your jobs, raise your pay and help America win, voters should deliver a clear message, do your job to deliver for America or find a new job.’
Congress returned from its summer recess on Tuesday. Trump brought congressional leaders in the House and Senate to the White House right away.
Yesterday, he sat down with ‘The Big Six’ tax reform group, which is comprised the House speaker, Senate majority leader, the heads of the legislative committees that oversee taxes, the Treasury secretary and the chairman of the National Economic Council.
At the beginning of the meeting, Trump declared: ‘We’re going to cut taxes. We’re going to reduce taxes for people, for individuals, for middle-income families. We are going to reduce taxes for our companies. And those companies are going to produce jobs.
‘Tax reform that follows these principles will create millions of new jobs and ensure that more products are stamped with the very beautiful letters and words: Made in the USA,’ he said, tacking on his signature promise that he would make America great again.
Trump will again host House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the White House this morning alongside their Democratic counterparts, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, for a broader, legislative discussion.
In the afternoon he’ll fly from Washington to North Dakota with Heitkamp in tow to make a public push for the tax proposal that’s still under development by the Big Six and is due to be revealed later this month.
Heitkamp is one of four Senate Democrats the White House is hoping to win over as it searches for votes for the president’s tax reform package.
Trump won her home state of North Dakota by more than 35 points in his November race, which makes Heitkamp ripe for the poaching.
Yesterday, Trump sat down with ‘The Big Six’ tax reform group, which is comprised the House speaker, Paul Ryan, left, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, right, the heads of the legislative committees that oversee taxes, the Treasury secretary and the chairman of the National Economic Council (not pictured)
Heitkamp and Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia are at the top of the administration’s pick-up list.
The three senators kept their names off of a letter their colleagues, led by Schumer, sent the president demanding that the GOP back away from tax cuts for the wealthy.
‘So, there’s a little bit of hope there that maybe those three and others will see the light and will be able to go back to their states and say to their constituents, “We know you needed tax reform and tax relief and we delivered it to you,” ‘ a senior White House official said of their refusal to sign the letter.
Trump put the squeeze on Sen. Claire McCaskill, another Democrat who’s vote he’s counting on, during a speech last week in Springfield, Missouri.
‘She must do this for you. And if she doesn’t do it for you, you have to have to vote her out of office,’ he told McCaskill’s constituents. ‘She’s got to make that commitment. She’s got to make that commitment.’
The president told his supporters, ‘If she doesn’t do it, you just can’t do this anymore, with the obstruction and the obstructionists.’
Trump made a dire economic prediction as he mounted a full-court press for McCaskill’s vote .
‘If we don’t get tax cuts and reform approved, potentially, the biggest ever — we are looking for the biggest ever — jobs and our country cannot take off the way they should, and it could be much worse than that. But, at a minimum, they won’t take off the way they should.’
It’s unclear who else the White House might turn to for support, aside from those four Democrats.
Trump won 10 states last year where Democratic senators are up for reelection, including Missouri, North Dakota, West Virginia and Indiana. The White House has intentionally started there.
The White House did not have four other Democratic senators in mind for tax reform – it needs a total of eight – when DailyMail.com pressed the subject last week.
‘I would love to see all of them come on board. I can’t imagine why anybody wouldn’t want to support helping more Americans keep more of their hard-earned money,’ Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
Pushed to say whether the White House is eyeing anyone else, given that it takes 60 to overcome a filibuster in the Senate, Sanders admitted that no one came to mind.
‘Not specifically,’ she said. ‘Again, I’m hoping that the senators from all 50 states get on board to help Americans and do what, frankly, Americans are demanding.’
An email to the president’s legislative affairs director after the exchange went unanswered.
Trump has pushed McConnell to end the filibuster, bringing the number of votes he’d need in the Senate down to 50 if the vice president acts as a tiebreaker. McConnell has said, though, that he will not abandon 100 years of precedent to force through the president’s agenda.
The president is likely to keep trying in a two-prong approach to lower the standards and win over Democrats.
But first, the tax-writing committees and Trump’s tax-focused aides must produce a bill.
Trump says he wants to lower the corporate tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent. GOP leaders in the House believe in the same general principle, although they have a higher rate, 20 percent, in mind.
Ryan has also endorsed an overhaul of the income tax brackets that would see the number of rates go from seven to three. But he and the administration disagree on what those rates should be.
‘We’ve already agreed on the outlines and now we’re refining the micro-details,’ Ryan said during an event in Milwaukee last week.
He and House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady came to the White House on Tuesday for a meeting with Trump that McConnell and Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch also attended.
A readout of the meeting said the group ‘reaffirmed their commitment to reducing the crushing burden of the Nation’s self-destructive tax code, which hurts our companies and our workers, and discussed their desire to make the tax code simple, fair, and easy to understand.
‘They discussed House and Senate committee hearings on tax reform and agreed that committee activity should continue so that Congress can move to mark-ups on legislation as expeditiously as possible.’
The lawmakers had put out a joint statement at the end of July with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn that said their mission, above all, ‘is to protect American jobs and make taxes simpler, fairer, and lower for hard-working American families.’
‘We’re pushing forward. We’re going to continue, again, focused on those four principles using that as the guide and the focal point moving forward,’ Sanders affirmed on Friday, ‘and sit down with a lot of members of Congress to make sure we get this deal done.’