U.S. President Donald Trump is heading Wednesday to Missouri to tout his tax overhaul, trying to convince working class Americans that their taxes would go down and more jobs would be created if Congress adopts the plan.
Trump is set to speak to about 1,000 people in St. Charles, a suburb of the big midwestern city of St. Louis. His remarks come a day after the Senate Finance Committee advanced the tax legislation, sending it to the full Senate for consideration later this week.
"Our focus is on helping the folks who work in the mail room, in the machine shops of America, the plumbers and the police officers, the store clerks and secretaries," Trump says, according to advance excerpts of his speech. "All of the people who give their best each and every day to take care of their families and the people that they love. It is not enough for the middle class to keep getting by, we want them to start getting ahead."
In a Twitter remark before heading to Missouri, Trump boasted, "Economy growing!"
According to the newest government estimate, the U.S. economy, the world's largest, advanced at a brisk 3.3 percent pace in the July-to-September period. Trump noted that the Council of Economic Advisers said that absent the effect of several devastating hurricanes in the U.S. the growth would have been 3.9 percent.
"Stock market at a new high, unemployment at a low," Trump said. "We are winning and tax cuts will shift our economy into high gear!"
The Senate Finance panel cleared the legislation on a party line 12-11 vote, with all Republicans supporting it and all Democrats opposed. But its fate in the full Senate is still uncertain, with a half dozen Republicans voicing sometimes conflicting objections to various provisions that could derail the legislation if their concerns cannot be resolved and they ultimately vote against the measure.
Republicans, with a narrow 52-48 edge in the Senate, can only afford to lose two dissenting votes, with Vice President Mike Pence poised to break a 50-50 tie in favor of what would be the country's biggest set of tax changes in three decades. No Democratic lawmaker has announced support for the legislation.
The House of Representatives has already approved its version of the tax overhaul, but both chambers would have to pass the same tax provisions before Trump could sign them into law.
Both the Senate and House versions would cut the country's corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent, but differ in rates for individual taxpayers.
Over the next decade, the proposals would add at least $1.4 trillion to the U.S. national debt of $20 trillion, a fact that worries some conservative Republican lawmakers, while Democrats have attacked the legislation as heavily favoring corporations and the wealthiest taxpayers at the expense of individuals who earn far less.
Senior administration officials who briefed reporters ahead of the Missouri speech said Trump once again would single out Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, a top Republican target in her re-election contest a year from now, for her lack of support for the tax legislation.
In August, in another visit to Missouri, Trump said, "We must lower our taxes, and your senator, Claire McCaskill, she must do this for you. And if she doesn't do it for you, you have got to vote her out of office."