Trump's top advisors discuss tax initiatives at White House summit

Key Points
  • Trump's six main advisors on tax reform meet with him Tuesday to go over their agenda for getting a bill through Congress this fall.
  • Tax reform has been a key part of the Trump agenda, but many say more limited tax cuts may only be possible in the near term.
Trump: Want tax system to be as simple as possible

President Donald Trump's top advisors on reforming the U.S. tax system are meeting with him Tuesday afternoon at the White House to set their agenda for the legislative session this fall.

These six advisors include House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady.

The president is highlighting his tax reform efforts as Congress faces two big deadlines: raising the national debt limit and passing a spending bill to prevent a government shutdown. Both those items have to be decided by the end of September.

But Republicans have also been pushing for cuts to corporate taxes and other reforms they see as key to spurring economic growth. And that effort has taken on extra urgency in a year during which Trump has not succeeded in advancing major campaign promises such as health-care reform and the construction of a border wall with Mexico.

President Donald Trump speaks as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) listen during a meeting of Republican congressional leaders about tax reform at the White House in Washington,DC, on September 5, 2017.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters

Business groups like the RATE Coalition have supported the idea of tax reform, the promise of which has been credited for driving U.S. stock markets higher since Trump's election last fall.

"We are encouraged by the continued unity from leaders in the Administration and in Congress around the need to fix America's broken tax code," the RATE Coalition said in a statement on Tuesday. "Today's meeting marks an important step towards fulfilling a critical goal to "lower rates for all American businesses so they can compete with foreign ones."

The six advisors issued a joint statement on their priorities in July and promised to fill in the details later. "The time has arrived for the two tax-writing committees to develop and draft legislation that will result in the first comprehensive tax reform in a generation," they said in the July 27 statement.

"Our expectation is for this legislation to move through the committees this fall, under regular order, followed by consideration on the House and Senate floors."

But the letter didn't specify an exact deadline, and many market watchers have said more recently that Congress may only be able to squeak out some more limited tax cuts in the near term.