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No, we're not raising taxes on lower earners, Cohn and Ryan say

  • Lower-income fillers actually will receive a tax cut due to a doubling of the standard deduction that most workers can take, according to White House economic advisor Gary Cohn and House Speaker Paul Ryan.
  • Where the old system had levies ranging from 10 percent to 39.6 percent, the new plan proposes 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent.

Critics have hit the Republican tax plan for raising the bottom tax rate, effectively creating a tax for the poor. The proposal's chief architects, though, say that's not the right way to look at it.

White House economic advisor Gary Cohn said lower-income fillers actually will receive a tax cut due to a doubling of the standard deduction that most workers can take.

That will offset what appears to be a raise in the bottom tax bracket from 10 percent to 12 percent, he said.

"We have really helped our lower-income earners by doing that," Cohn told CNBC in an interview.

"We're doing an awful lot to help working Americans," he added. "I think when people see the final, final details they'll be pretty impressed when they see what we're doing for working Americans."

The new plan reduces the number of brackets from seven to three. Where the old system had levies ranging from 10 percent to 39.6 percent, the new plan proposes 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent.

In addition, the GOP plan doubles the so-called zero tax bracket to $24,000 for married couples and $12,000 for individuals. Under the previous plan, workers earning from $1 to $9,325 were taxed at a 10 percent rate.

That will change under the Republican proposal, in effect providing relief for the bottom two current brackets of 10 percent and 15 percent.

"You're going from 10 percent on the bottom to zero," House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told CNBC in a subsequent interview. "By doubling the standard deduction, the people who are currently captured in that 10 percent rate, they go to a zero percent rage, and the 15 percent bracket comes down to 12 percent."

Ryan said he expects the "demagoguery" will continue over the plan, though he expects it to pass with some Democratic support.