Steve Bannon’s Plan to Raise Taxes on the Rich? Not Happening

July 31, 2017, 2:03 PM UTC
President Donald Trump Makes Statement On Paris Climate Agreement
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: Senior Counselor to the President Steve Bannon helps with last minute preparations before President Donald Trump announces his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement at the White House June 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump pledged on the campaign trail to withdraw from the accord, which former President Barack Obama and the leaders of 194 other countries signed in 2015 to deal with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance so to limit global warming to a manageable level. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images

A top income-tax rate of 44 percent for Americans earning more than $5 million per year isn’t under consideration, a White House official said Monday, knocking down a proposal said to be backed by top Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

“I don’t think that that’s on the table right now, to be honest with you,” White House director of legislative affairs Marc Short said on Fox News. “We don’t believe that raising taxes is the way to encourage growth.”

Bannon backs that increased rate, a person familiar with the White House chief strategist’s thinking said last week, as a way to pay for middle-class tax cuts. While one conservative lawmaker responded by saying some congressional Republicans might support a rate increase as part of a broader tax overhaul, Short is the third key player to dismiss the idea.

Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said Sunday that he did not “intend” to introduce the 44 percent rate to his panel’s work. “We’re going for growth, which means lower rates at every level,” he said on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Sunday declined to comment directly on the Bannon report but said he supports the outline released by the Trump administration in April, which caps the top rate at 35 percent. “We’re not in the business of raising tax rates,” Ryan said on “Sunday Morning Futures.”

The White House is also getting support for its tax-cut plan from the political network of billionaire brothers Charles Koch and David Koch, who didn’t support President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign. Short and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are set to appear on a tax panel hosted by two Koch-funded groups Monday in Washington.

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