Trump Floats 10% Middle Class Tax Cut With Election Looming. The Only Problem: Congress Isn’t in Session

October 22, 2018, 11:37 PM UTC

President Donald Trump announced a new 10% tax cut would come into effect before the midterms, intended only for the middle class, not for businesses—nor the rich.

The only trouble? Congress isn’t in session, congressional leaders haven’t heard about it, nothing has been drafted, and Trump seemed to have invented it from whole cloth on Oct. 20, based on a confirmation provided by a White House spokesperson who spoke to CNBC.

Trump’s talk of a 10% tax cut comes a few weeks after the House took advantage of the attention focused on the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh to pass $3.8 trillion in additional tax cuts on top of the December 2017 changes. Passed on Sept. 28, there was little chance of the Senate taking up this legislation, and the Senate has so far ignored it.

Trump first mentioned the new 10% tax cut while standing on an airplane tarmac in Nevada on Saturday, when he said, “We are going to be putting in and are studying very deeply right now, around the clock a major tax cut for middle-income people.” He said the cuts would be in place by November.

During questions with reporters on Oct. 22 before he left the White House on the Marine One helicopter, Trump was peppered with questions about how a tax cut could go into effect with Congress out of session until after the midterm elections on Nov. 6.

According to the White House transcript, Trump said the administration was “putting in a resolution” in the next one to two weeks.

A reporter asked if Trump were signing an executive order. He said, “No. No. No. I’m going through Congress.”

When reminded Congress wasn’t in session, the president said, “We won’t have time to do the vote. We’ll do the vote later…We’ll do the vote after the election.”

The December 2017 tax cut involved seven weeks of negotiation before narrow passage on party lines, with all Democrats in the House and Senate who voted casting no votes, as well as 12 GOP House members. The tax cut has become a political albatross for the GOP, with two-thirds of Americans in a poll commissioned by the Republican National Committee agreeing that the new law benefitted “large corporations and rich Americans.”

Trump has tacitly conceded that Republicans have lost control of this message by asserting an immediate tax cut that would benefit the middle class alone.