President Donald Trump traveled to the state of Missouri on Wednesday to try to build support for his goal of overhauling the country's tax code by year's end.
The president said lower taxes would increase jobs and stimulate economic growth.
"We're here today to launch our plans to bring back Main Street by reducing the crushing burden on our companies and on our workers," Trump said to a crowd of supporters in Springfield, Missouri.
"Our self-destructive tax code costs Americans millions and millions of jobs, trillions of dollars, and billions of hours spent on compliance and paperwork," he said.
He announced plans to cut unnecessary regulations and promised a tax code that would be "pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker and pro-American." Noting that the job must be done through Congress, Trump said he was ready to work with Republican and Democrat lawmakers alike.
In the past, Trump has proposed cutting the corporate tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent, reducing tax rates paid by families and individuals and eliminating other taxes, which some administration officials think have unnecessarily complicated the U.S. tax code. The regulations governing U.S. income taxes have not undergone a significant overhaul since 1986.
"The tax code is so complicated that more than 90 percent of Americans need professional help to do their own taxes," the president said. "This enormous complexity is very unfair. It disadvantages ordinary Americans who don't have an army of accountants, while benefiting deep-pocketed special interests."
Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer of New York outlined the his party's approach to a tax overhaul earlier Wednesday, saying Trump's plan should not include tax reductions for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. Schumer told reporters in Washington the tax plan should not increase budget deficits and should be written by both major parties.
Although Trump's Republican Party controls both houses of Congress, there have been no major legislative achievements this year, placing mounting pressure on the party to secure a victory before midterm elections in 2018.
Republican congressional aides have said there is no consensus within the party about how to overhaul the tax code. White House officials have said they are receptive to temporary revisions if they are unable to garner enough support for long-term changes.
A tax overhaul is one of several items before Congress, which is scheduled to be in session for only brief periods before the U.S. fiscal year ends September 30. The House and Senate must also approve legislation to adjust the statutory limit on government spending by September 29 or face the possibility that the U.S. Treasury would default on some of its debt obligations. Another priority is settling budgetary issues before fiscal 2018 begins October 1.
Washington also must focus on is finding the billions of dollars that Trump has promised for rebuilding and relief efforts following this month's devastating storm and flood damage in Texas and Louisiana. Such extraordinary spending must be appropriated by Congress.
Tax cuts were at the top of the Trump administration's "wish list" when the Republican president took office seven months ago, but the expectation that work could be accomplished by August has been steadily pushed back. Trump and his economic team had planned to write a new tax bill together with Congress, but the White House has now abandoned that plan and said it will await a bill drafted by lawmakers.
If the House Ways and Means Committee comes up with a proposal by October, as some members hope, the full House could vote on it in November, and the tax-reform focus would then shift to the Senate.