In our news wrap Wednesday, the Trump administration offered a tax reform plan that includes cutting corporate tax rates to 15 percent from 35 percent, consolidate income tax brackets, double the standard deduction and repeal the estate tax. Also, Congress moved closer to trying to prevent a government shutdown.
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The Trump administration is out with the broad strokes of what it says would be the largest tax reform in U.S. history. The plan's main features, released today, include cutting corporate tax rates to 15 percent from 35 percent.
It would also consolidate existing income tax brackets into just three, ranging from 10 percent to 35 percent. And it would double the standard deduction, while repealing the estate tax.
At a White House briefing, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin promised the plan will not make the deficit worse.
STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. Treasury Secretary:
This will pay for itself with growth and with reduced reduction of different deductions, and closing loopholes.
We will be working very closely, as I said, with the House and Senate to turn this into a bill that can be passed and the president can sign, and there's lots and lots of details going into how that will pay for itself.
Republican leaders said the plan offers critical guideposts for a tax overhaul, but Democrats called it a massive tax break for the wealthy.
On another issue, Secretary Mnuchin said today that President Trump — quote — "has no intention" of making his own tax returns public.
Congress moved closer today to trying to prevent a government shutdown on Saturday. Democrats said one stumbling block apparently fell away when the White House agreed to continue subsidies for millions of poor people under Obamacare.
Meanwhile, conservative House Republicans announced that they will back a newly revised plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. It is not yet clear if moderates will go along.
There is word that President Trump has settled on a course of action against North Korea. A top national security official says it begins with diplomacy, but includes a range of options. That word came as all 100 senators took a bus caravan to the White House for a classified briefing.
Democrat Chris Coons of Delaware was among those who spoke afterwards.
SEN. CHRIS COONS, D-Del.:
I was encouraged that they chose to brief the entire Senate. And I think the — it was a sobering briefing, in which it was clear just how much thought and planning is going into preparing military options, if called for, and a diplomatic strategy that strikes me as clear-eyed and well — well-proportioned to the threat.
House members had their briefing later at the Capitol.
And North Korea issued a new warning that it will — quote — "go to the end," apparently meaning a nuclear strike, if there is an all-out war with the U.S.
China today unveiled its first domestically built aircraft carrier, the latest step in a major naval expansion. The vessel slowly slipped into the water in the port city of Dalian to much fanfare. It is expected to become operational by 2020, after undergoing sea trials.
President Trump today decried a new legal blow to his immigration policy. On Tuesday, a federal district judge in San Francisco blocked his order to withhold funding from so-called sanctuary cities, which seek to protect many of those who are undocumented. The president tweeted that the decision was — quote — "ridiculous" and he vowed to appeal. He lumped that in with criticism of the 9th Judicial Circuit, where appellate courts also blocked his travel ban.
Later, he echoed that complaint:
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:
I'm never surprised by the 9th Circuit.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:
As I said, we will see them in the Supreme Court.
Mr. Trump also told The Washington Examiner newspaper that he has considered proposals to split up the 9th Circuit.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security formally opened a new office to help victims of crimes by undocumented immigrants. Secretary John Kelly said that it will help shine a light on victims as part of the president's push on illegal immigration. Multiple studies show that native-born Americans are more likely to commit crimes than are immigrants.
The Trump administration is going to review so-called national monument designations for millions of acres of federal land. They go back to President Clinton's time in office. Mr. Trump ordered the review at the U.S. Interior Department today. It is aimed at what he called a — quote — "massive federal land grab" that bars drilling, mining and other uses.
Environmental and Native American tribal groups denounced the action.
And Wall Street gave a little ground today. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 21 points to close at 20975. The Nasdaq fell a quarter of a point, and the S&P 500 slipped one point.