Joel T. Vernile

Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017

Sinema, McSally invited to White House for bipartisan tax reform talks

WASHINGTON – Arizona Reps. Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally were among a bipartisan group of 13 House members invited to the White House to talk about tax reform Wednesday with President Donald Trump.

The meeting was the latest of several recent attempts by Trump so far this month to reach across party lines to advance his agenda.

In remarks to open the meeting, Trump said he hopes to cut the top corporate tax rate from the current 35 percent to 15 percent, which he said would make the U.S. competitive with other nations and “bring back trillions of dollars” to the economy.

It was not clear how Sinema, a Phoenix Democrat, and McSally, a Tucson Republican, were selected, but McSally noted after the meeting that both are members of the Problem Solvers Caucus.

She said that in addition to possible approaches to tax reform, the afternoon meeting ranged from discussions on infrastructure investment to job creation for the middle class.

Sinema did not respond to requests Wednesday for comment on the meeting, but her office did confirm that she attended.

Trump said bipartisan support is needed on everything from forging a health care plan to winning infrastructure improvements for the nation’s highways, bridges, airports and railways.

The president laid out what he called a pro-business agenda, according to a White House transcript of the meeting, saying that “we put our country first and we put the citizens of our country first.”

That includes his call for reducing the top corporate tax rate to 15 percent, which he said would make the U.S. rate competitive with countries like China.

But Trump said any tax plan will be “pro-jobs, pro-growth, pro-family, and pro-American” and he promised that it would not benefit the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.

“The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan,” he said.

The president said that in the wake of the two devastating hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida last week, bipartisan cooperation is needed more than ever to “substantially” cut taxes.

The meeting is the latest by Trump that has blurred party lines. In a meeting with House and Senate leaders last week on whether to raise the government’s debt limit and how to keep the government open while a budget for fiscal 2018 is worked out, Trump rejected options put forth by GOP leaders and cut a deal with the Democrats.

The president continued that outreach Wednesday night, when he was scheduled to host Democrats Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, and Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, for a dinner where he said they would “continue some discussions.”

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