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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Monday repeated his unsubstantiated claim that Republicans plan to unveil a middle-class tax cut before the midterm elections a little over two weeks away.
"We're putting in a resolution some time in the next week and a half to two weeks [and] we're giving a middle-income tax reduction of about 10 percent," Trump told reporters at the White House. "This is not for business, this is for middle income, and that's on top of the tax decrease that we've already given them."
Congress is in recess until after the election, but Trump dismissed the idea that he would try to use an executive order. "No, I'm going through Congress. We won't have time to do the vote. We'll do the vote after the election," he said.
But congressional leaders and White House officials who have spoken to several news outlets in recent days have all said they know nothing about any plans for a tax cut before the midterm election. This is not least because neither chamber of Congress plans to return to Washington until after the election.
As of Monday, it was also unclear what type of resolution Trump was talking about. A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan referred questions from CNBC back to the White House.
Late Monday, White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters effectively confirmed that the 10% tax cut idea was something entirely new, which Trump had only first mentioned on Saturday, while standing on an airplane tarmac in Nevada.
"As part of Tax Reform 2.0, the first elements of which were passed the House in September, the President would like to see an additional tax cut of 10% for middle-income families," Walters told CNBC in a statement Monday evening.
The suggestion that Trump wanted another massive tax cut added to the package of three small tax bills collectively known Tax Reform 2.0 likely came as a surprise to congressional tax writers, who did not immediately respond to questions about it Monday from CNBC.
The three bills that together comprise Tax Reform 2.0 all passed the House in late September, but they face long odds in the Senate. It's nearly impossible to imagine a scenario in which an additional massive, deficit-ballooning 10% tax cut would pass in either chamber of Congress.
Trump's talk of a new tax cut failed to register in financial markets Monday, which may have reflected suspicions on Wall Street that the plan was merely a campaign gimmick. This would fit within a broader pattern of escalating rhetoric in recent days from Trump as midterm campaign election cycle enters the home stretch.
Republicans are fighting to maintain control of the House of Representatives, and scores of individual races are extremely close with only two weeks to go before Election Day. Political analysts expect the GOP to lose seats in the House but keep its thin majority in the Senate.
CNBC's Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.
This story has been updated to include a comment from the White House.