Trump, in a joking manner, suggests 'phase 2' of tax cuts in speech to GOP lawmakers

  • President Trump, in an apparently joking manner, suggested a second phase of tax cuts was on the table.
  • Trump was kidding around with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, who led efforts to push through last year's sweeping tax-cut bill.
  • Later, however, Brady suggested that the GOP wasn't done with tax reform just yet.

President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested that there could be a "phase two" of tax cuts coming down the pike. He looked like he was just kidding around, though.

Speaking to GOP lawmakers at a retreat in West Virginia, a visibly loose president said "maybe" it could happen.

"Maybe we'll do a phase two. I don't know. We'll do a phase two," Trump said breezily while praising House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady for his efforts on pushing through the tax overhaul. "Are you ready for that, Kevin? Huh? I think you're ready. We'll get 'em even lower."

Later, however, Brady added some weight to Trump's lighthearted comments, telling reporters that he still thinks there could be more improvements to the tax code. He singled out pension reform, encouraging people to save more, employee ownership, and a focus on capital gains as priorities under a potential phase two. Brady didn't add anymore context.

"We're not waiting 31 years to do tax reform again," Brady told , referring to the gap between passage of the new law and the reform passed under President Ronald Reagan in 1986.

The nearly $1.5 trillion Republican tax bill that Trump signed in December cut corporate tax rates to 21 percent from 35 percent and increased child tax credits while limiting deductions for state and local taxes.

Still, another round of tax cuts doesn't look likely. Even with majorities in the Senate and the House, Republican lawmakers had a tough time passing the tax-cut bill in December, just in time for Trump to sign it before the new year.

Then there are the midterm elections. Polling suggests that Republicans stand a strong chance of losing their majority in the House this fall, even if the Senate map favors them with several Democratic senators in Trump-voting states up for re-election.

There are concerns that Trump's historically low approval ratings could weigh on Republican candidates, as well.

CNBC's Ylan Mui and Karen James Sloan contributed to this report.