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Wednesday November 22nd, 2017 2:30AM

The Latest: Republicans unveil nearly $6 trillion tax cut

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Republican plan to overhaul the tax code (all times local):

8:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans have unveiled the first major revamp of the nation's tax code in a generation.

The sweeping, nearly $6 trillion tax cut would deeply reduce levies for corporations, simplify everyone's brackets and nearly double the standard deduction used by most Americans.

Trump declares the plan would provide badly needed tax relief for the middle class, but there are too many gaps in the proposal to know how it actually would affect taxpayers.

There are also major questions about how it would be paid for and how much it might add to the soaring $20 trillion national debt.

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4:40 p.m.

An organization that advocates for state legislatures says it's "dismayed" the Republican tax cut proposal unveiled Wednesday would do away with a deduction for state and local taxes paid.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says the deduction has existed in the federal tax code since its inception. The group says "tens of millions of middle-class taxpayers of every political affiliation" would experience a greater tax burden if the deduction were eliminated.

The group says the deduction's elimination will also impede states in their efforts to invest in education and other public services.

About a third of tax filers itemize deductions on their federal income tax returns. The Tax Policy Center says virtually all who do claim a deduction for state and local taxes paid.

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4:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump is issuing a warning shot to Indiana's Democratic senator: Support my tax overhaul or I'll campaign against you next year.

Trump says at a tax event in Indiana that if Sen. Joe Donnelly doesn't approve the plan, "we will come here and we will campaign against him like you wouldn't believe."

But Trump is predicting that numerous Democrats will come across the aisle and support his plan "because it's the right thing to do."

The president has made overtures to Democratic senators like Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota in recent weeks. All three are facing re-election in 2018.

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4 p.m.

Small business advocates are split over the draft of the new Republican tax plan.

The National Federation of Independent Business is praising the proposal to tax business income at 20 percent — including sole proprietors whose business income is taxed at individual rates up to 39.6 percent.

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council says the plan would simplify business taxes, encourage business investment and increase owners' confidence.

But the Small Business Majority says the plan wouldn't help most small companies, and the current top rate is paid by less than 2 percent of those businesses.

And John O'Neill, a tax analyst at the American Sustainable Business Council, says tax reform isn't as useful to the economy as investing in infrastructure and education.

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3:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump is calling the current tax system a "relic" and a "colossal barrier" that's standing in the way of the nation's economic comeback.

Trump says at an event in Indianapolis that his tax proposal will help middle-class families save money and will eliminate loopholes that benefit the wealthy.

Trump says the wealthy "can call me all they want. It's not going to help." The billionaire president says he's "doing the right thing. And it's not good for me, believe me."

The president says under his plan, "the vast majority of families will be able to file their taxes on a single sheet of paper."

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3:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is making the case for a sweeping plan to overhaul the tax system for individuals and corporations. He calls it a "once in a generation" opportunity to cut taxes.

The president says in Indiana that he wants to cut taxes for middle-class families to make the system simpler and fairer.

Trump says his tax plan will "bring back the jobs and the wealth that have left our country." He says it's time for the nation to fight for American workers.

He's praising his vice president, Mike Pence, Indiana's former governor. Trump says, "it's time for Washington to learn from the wisdom of Indiana."

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2:52 p.m.

A budget watchdog group in Washington says the new GOP tax plan could cost $2.2 trillion over the next 10 years.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget admits its estimate is very preliminary since so many details are unclear, but its take is that the plan contains about $5.8 trillion in tax cuts but only $3.6 trillion worth of offsetting tax increases. That $2.2 trillion would be added to the nation's $20 trillion debt.

That's more than the $1.5 trillion debt cost that has emerged in a deal among Senate Republicans.

Republicans controlling Congress initially promised that the overhaul of the tax code wouldn't add to the debt. The group also notes that the $2.2 trillion cost could grow by another $500 billion when interest costs are added in.

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1:54 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he's always wanted to reduce the corporate tax rate to 20 percent — even though he said repeatedly he wanted to see it lowered to 15 percent.

Trump told reporters as he departed Washington for Indiana on Wednesday afternoon that a 20 percent rate was his "red line" and that it had always been his goal.

"In fact, I wanted to start at 15 so that we got 20," he said, adding: "20's my number."

Trump also denies the plan unveiled by the White House and congressional Republicans Wednesday would benefit the wealthy.

He says: "I think there's very little benefit for people of wealth."

Under the plan, corporations would see their top tax rate cut from 35 percent to 20 percent.

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1:37 p.m.

A vocal group of the most conservative House Republicans has come out in support of a draft tax plan endorsed by both President Donald Trump and top congressional GOP leaders.

The House Freedom Caucus endorsement is noteworthy because it could ease House passage of a budget plan that's the first step to advancing the tax cut measure through Congress.

The group says the outline will allow workers to "keep more of their money," while simplifying the loophole-choked tax code and making U.S. companies more competitive with their foreign rivals.

The group had held up action on the budget measure as they demanded more details on taxes.

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11:21 a.m.

President Donald Trump has two red lines that he refuses to cross on overhauling taxes: the corporate rate must be cut to 20 percent and the savings must go to the middle class.

Gary Cohn, the president's top economics aide, says any overhaul signed by the president needs to include these two elements.

Trump had initially pushed for cutting the 39.6 percent corporate tax rate to 15 percent.

The administration says that the benefits of any tax cut will not favor the wealthy, with Cohn saying that an additional tax bracket could be added to levy taxes on the top one percent of earners if needed.

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11:20 a.m.

The Senate's top Democrat is blasting a new tax cut plan backed by President Donald Trump as a giveaway to the rich.

Sen. Chuck Schumer says Trump's plan only gives "crumbs" to the middle class, while top-bracket earners making more than a half-million dollars a year would reap a windfall.

The New York Democrat also blasted the plan for actually increasing the bottom tax rate from 10 percent to 12 percent, calling it a "punch to the gut of working Americans."

Schumer said the plan is little more than an "across-the-board tax cut for America's millionaires and billionaires."

The plan, to be officially released Wednesday afternoon, is the top item on Washington's agenda after the GOP failure to repeal the Obama health care law.

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9:53 a.m.

A new Republican blueprint for overhauling the U.S. tax code employs the themes of economic populism that President Donald Trump trumpeted during the presidential campaign to win support from working-class voters.

A copy of the plan to be released later Wednesday says, "Too many in our country are shut out of the dynamism of the U.S. economy." That's led to what the plans says is "the justifiable feeling that the system is rigged against hardworking Americans."

The plan, obtained by The Associated Press, says the Trump administration and Congress "will work together to produce tax reform that will put America first."

The GOP plan for the first major rewrite of the U.S. tax code in 30 years also says corporations will be stopped from shipping jobs and capital overseas.

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9:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are proposing a tax plan that they say will be simple and fair.

In a document obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday, they outline a blueprint for almost doubling the standard deduction for married taxpayers filing jointly to $24,000, and $12,000 for individuals.

The plan calls for cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. The GOP proposal also calls for reducing the number of tax brackets from seven to three with a surcharge on the wealthiest Americans.

The plan also leaves intact the deduction for mortgage interest and charitable deductions.

The White House and Republicans plan a formal roll out later Wednesday.

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4:26 a.m.

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are rolling out a sweeping plan to cut taxes for individuals and corporations, simplify the tax system, and likely double the standard deduction used by most Americans.

Months in the making, the plan meets a political imperative for Republicans to deliver an overhaul of the U.S. tax code after the failure of the health care repeal.

The public reveal of the plan was set for Wednesday. The day before, details emerged on Capitol Hill while Trump personally appealed to House Republicans and Democrats at the White House to get behind his proposal.

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