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Sunday October 20th, 2019 5:50PM

The Latest: Trump kisses Republican tax plan

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the tax overhaul from House Republicans (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump is planting a kiss on a symbol of the House Republican tax plan.

In a White House meeting with House Republican leaders and Republican members of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, the president had an enthusiastic response when he was shown two postcard-sized papers that some taxpayers would be able to use to file their taxes.

The president said, "great job!" and added that he didn't know he was going to be given a prop. To show his approval, Trump kissed one of the postcards before giving it back to Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady.

Trump is trying to build momentum for the plan ahead of his trip to Asia. He says the bill is about tax cuts, tax reform and "it's all about jobs."

___

2:13 p.m.

President Donald Trump is cheering the Republican Party's plan to cut the corporate tax rate and efforts to simplify the tax code, and predicts it will earn Democratic votes.

Attending an event with House Speaker Paul Ryan and other lawmakers, Trump says: "This is a middle income tax reduction."

Trump says many people will be able to file their taxes on a postcard should the plan become law.

Praising the drafters of the GOP tax plan released Thursday, Trump says he'll be counting on the "great team" to keep up the momentum on tax reform as he embarks on a 12-day trip to Asia Friday.

Trump says he hopes to have the tax reform package signed into law by the end of the year.

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1:24 p.m.

Churches would gain the right to endorse political candidates and still retain their tax-free status under a provision in the House GOP's tax overhaul plan.

The bill would repeal a 63-year-old law credited to former President Lyndon Johnson back when he served in the Senate.

Critics warn it could open a loophole that could funnel tax-free money into campaigns. The provision would cost $2 billion over the coming decade, according to congressional scorekeepers.

The Johnson amendment law prohibits tax-exempt charitable organizations such as churches from participating directly or indirectly in any political campaign to support or oppose a candidate. If the IRS determines that a group has violated the law, it can revoke its tax-exempt status.

The GOP plan permits political activity by churches so long as there is a minimal cost.

____

12:46 p.m.

President Donald Trump is calling the tax bill released Thursday by Congressional Republicans "a great bill," expressing optimism that it will be passed into law by the end of the year.

Trump says his administration is "working to give the American people a giant tax cut for Christmas." Calling tax cuts "a big, beautiful Christmas present." Says Trump: "It will be the biggest cut in the history of our country. It will also be tax reform, and it will create jobs."

Trump adds that the Republican proposal, which would slash corporate rates and simplify the personal tax code, has been "met with really a great response."

____

12:39 p.m.

The House's top Democrat and her colleagues from California are using the GOP's tax cut plan to criticize the 14 Republicans from the state who serve in Congress.

The GOP plan released Thursday limits the deductibility of local property taxes to $10,000, while eliminating the deduction for state income taxes.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says millions of Californians rely on the tax deduction, and limiting it will undermine the financial stability of middle-class families in California.

One by one, Democratic members cited a Republican lawmaker from the state and how many people in their district use the deduction at a Capitol Hill news conference.

Pelosi says "every single California Republican voted for a budget resolution that made it possible for this harm to come to our state, and we want their constituents to know about it."

____

12:30 p.m.

The top lobby for small businesses says it opposes the newly-released GOP tax plan — at least in its current form. That's a big blow to Republicans hoping to quickly pass the measure into law.

The National Federation of Independent Business, a powerful GOP-leaning trade association, says the bill "leaves too many small businesses behind."

It says too many small businesses currently taxed at individual rates of up to 39.6 percent won't be able to take advantage of a new 25 percent top tax rate. The GOP measure released on Thursday contains safeguards aimed at making sure the new business tax rate isn't a huge loophole for high-income wage earners such as lawyers.

The NFIB said that "tax reform should provide substantial relief to all small businesses."

____

12:24 p.m.

President Donald Trump has congratulated House Republican leaders for introducing legislation to overhaul the tax code.

But Trump cautions that Thursday's unveiling marks the beginning of the legislative process and that there is "much work left to do." The president says special interest groups will distort the facts, lobbyists will try to save their "special deals" and the news media will "unfairly report on our efforts."

He is pledging a tireless effort by the administration to deliver on his promise to cut taxes for working people.

Trump says tax cuts are the "rocket fuel our economy needs to soar higher than ever before."

The legislation would slash corporate tax rates and lower taxes for most Americans. It would also limit a cherished deduction for homeowners, among other proposed changes.

____

11:25 a.m.

House Republicans have released their tax cut plan — and it would slash the corporate tax rate, lowers taxes for most people and limit a cherished deduction for homeowners.

President Donald Trump and the GOP are trying to deliver on the first tax revamp in three decades.

The proposal would add $1.5 trillion to the nation's debt over the next decade.

Middle-income families would pay less thanks to doubling of the standard deduction and an increase in the child tax credit.

The wealthy would benefit from the repeal of the alternative minimum tax and a phase out of the estate tax.

Some two-income, upper middle class families would pay more after being bumped into a higher tax bracket and losing a valuable deduction on state income taxes.

___

10:30 a.m.

The House GOP tax plan would require some upper-income taxpayers to pay a higher top rate under a new rate structure.

The result would be to increase the tax burden on those subject to a lower rate under the current system.

Families earning more than $260,000 now have a top rate of 33 percent. They'd get kicked up to the 35 percent bracket. At present, the 35 percent rate starts at $416,700 for married couples.

High-bracket earners, especially in high-tax states, would lose the benefit of deducting state income taxes.

But middle-class earners would benefit. That's because the bill would nearly double the standard deduction to $24,000 for couples and an increase in the per-child tax credit from $1,000 to $1,600.

And the child credit would be available to households earning up to $230,000, more than double the current income limit. A $300 credit would apply to each parent and non-child dependent.

___

9:45 a.m.

House Republicans are proposing to place new limits on the tax deduction for mortgage interest in their soon-to-be-released overhaul.

A summary of the plan says it would reduce the cap on the popular deduction to interest on mortgages of $500,000 for newly purchased homes. The current mortgage cap is $1 million.

The idea is sure to generate opposition from the real estate lobby, but it's being used to help pay for tax cuts elsewhere in the plan.

The plan also limits the deductibility of local property taxes to $10,000 while eliminating the deduction for state income taxes.

The child tax credit would rise from $1,000 to $1,600, though the $4,050 per child exemption would be repealed.

___

4:30 a.m.

House Republicans are planning major changes to the U.S. tax system while looking to preserve current rules for retirement accounts popular with middle-class Americans and to retain a top income-tax rate for million-dollar earners.

GOP negotiators have worked furiously this week to finalize details of the first major revamp of the tax system in three decades.

Still, they missed a self-imposed Wednesday deadline as leading Republicans batted down rumors that the public rollout could be delayed until next week.

The legislation is a longstanding goal for Capitol Hill Republicans. They see a once-in-a-generation opportunity at rewriting the tax law.

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