The Note: The devil for Trump's tax plan is in the lack of details

The White House unveiled its tax plan, but there were few details.

ByABC News
April 27, 2017, 8:06 AM


Day No. 98

THE BIG STORY: The “micro-details,” we have been told, will have to wait. This is about the big picture for President Trump, and nobody knows that better than the members of Congress whose votes he needs. The something-for-everybody start to planned tax overhaul announced by the Trump administration sets up a series of tests for Trump, plus the conservative movement he is well along in redefining. If Republicans can’t rally around tax cuts, what can they get behind? But not having even rough estimates of what it means for people, including quite wealthy people, like the president himself? Having no conception, beyond aspirational growth figures, of how it will be paid for? The clear-as-day statement by the Treasury secretary that the president has “no intention” of releasing his taxes? These are the small things that tend to block very big things. But the president is closing his 100 days out like you might expect, thinking big, perhaps unrealistically so, and commanding enough attention to stay in the middle of all the action.

THE SLEEPER STORY: NAFTA, he doesn’t hafta. President Trump sought to close the door on the rip-up NAFTA phase of his presidency with phone calls to the presidents of Mexico and Canada, and a statement: “It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up to date through renegotiation.” The anti-trade campaign chants are still echoing but add this to the list of shifts that chart the policy transformation of the Trump White House. Trump still has no apparent fixed ideology, though the nationalist wing continues to lose out. And don’t underestimate what this means for Trump’s relationship with Congress. From China-North Korea to Russia-Syria to the Export–Import Bank of the United States and beyond, the fact that Trump isn’t backing up his hardline rhetoric with similar actions goes over well in Republican caucus meetings.

THE SHINY STORY: It’s Trump v. courts, Round … 9? President Trump told the Washington Examiner that he would “absolutely” consider proposals to break up the U.S. 9th Circuit court system, which has frustrated his travel ban and sanctuary-city crackdown. Then came a classic Trump formulation: “There are many people that want to break up the 9th Circuit. It's outrageous.” The proposals are out there, but to be clear: Trump is not going to pass a reorganization of the judiciary that breaks up the existing circuit-court system. He is most likely not going to even really try. What he’s doing is throwing high, hard ones at judges, which is what he does with adversaries, whether they wear robes or not. Just as important in this latest scuffle is that the district court judge in San Francisco who is blocking the move against sanctuary cities is doing what other federal judges have done before: using the words of Trump, plus his top aides, as evidence.

TLDR: The White House unveiled its tax plan, but there were few details and no information on how it will affect Americans, though there is a declaration that President Trump has "no intention" of releasing his own tax returns.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: Wednesday’s trip from the Capitol to the White House for the briefing on North Korea for all 100 Senators led to some bipartisan bus sharing. This image shows Sen. Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama, and Sen. Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, sitting on the bus before it heads to the briefing. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

PHOTO: Senator Richard Shelby, right, and Senator Jon Tester sit on a bus at the US Capitol in Washington, April 26, 2017.
Senator Richard Shelby, right, and Senator Jon Tester sit on a bus at the US Capitol in Washington, April 26, 2017.


--WHAT'S IN THE TRUMP TAX PLAN THAT PROMISES 'MASSIVE' CUTS: The White House unveiled a sweeping tax reform plan on Wednesday that calls for dramatically cutting federal taxes for businesses and simplifying rules for individuals. The blueprint would slash corporate taxes to 15 percent for large and small businesses, as well as consolidate categories for individual taxes, lowering the top bracket from nearly 40 percent to 35 percent, writes ABC's RYAN STRUYK.

--ON GMA - TREASURY SECRETARY CAN'T GUARANTEE MIDDLE CLASS WOULDN'T PAY MORE UNDER TAX PLAN: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin today declined to guarantee that middle-class families won't pay more under President Trump's sweeping tax overhaul plan. "I can't make any guarantees until this thing is done and it’s on the president's desk. But I can tell you, that’s our number one objective in this," Mnuchin said on ABC News' "Good Morning America.” ABC’s MORGAN WINSOR has more: WATCH:

--HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS BACKS AMENDED GOP HEALTH CARE BILL: The conservative House Freedom Caucus, which stymied recent efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare last month, announced Wednesday that it is backing the GOP health care bill with the inclusion of the MacArthur Amendment, report ABC's BENJAMIN SIEGEL and ARLETTE SAENZ. "Due to improvements to the AHCA and the addition of Rep. Tom MacArthur’s proposed amendment, the House Freedom Caucus has taken an official position in support of the current proposal," a statement from the group read.

--SENATORS DESCRIBE 'LONG AND DETAILED' WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ON NORTH KOREA: Several Senate Republicans described the full Senate briefing on North Korea at the White House Wednesday as a thorough accounting of the administration's diplomatic and military options when it comes to dealing with Kim Jong Un. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called it "a long and detailed briefing." "The military is obviously planning for a number of options, as they should -- minimal military action to more significant action," Cruz said. ABC's ALEXANDER MALLIN and MEGHAN KENEALLY have more:

--TRUMP AGREES 'NOT TO TERMINATE NAFTA AT THIS TIME’: President Donald Trump told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto that the U.S. will not pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to a White House readout of calls Wednesday between the leaders. "President Trump agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time and the leaders agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures to enable the renegotiation of the NAFTA deal to the benefit of all three countries," the readout says. ABC’s KATHERINE FAULDERS and DAVID CAPLAN have more:


NEW ABC NEWS/WAPO POLL - NEARLY HALF OF AMERICANS THINK THERE'S A 'DEEP STATE' IN US. Nearly half of Americans think there’s a “deep state” in this country, just more than half think the mainstream media regularly report false stories and six in 10 say the Trump administration regularly makes false claims. Just another day in the world of alleged sneaky stuff. Each of these claims has gained attention since the 2016 campaign and the start of the Trump presidency, and this ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that each has lots of takers. ABC’s GARY LANGER has more:

100 DAYS IN, MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS ON TRUMP'S CONNECTION TO HIS BUSINESSES. It’s a story that has mostly played out behind-the-scenes in President Trump’s first 100 days in office: the White House’s management of the president's ongoing connections with his numerous business interests. The White House has mostly brushed aside questions regarding the potential for conflicts of interest up to this point, saying the unprecedented wealth of President Trump compared to past administrations would always naturally present more conflicts. But amid continuing concerns over transparency, Republicans are facing increased questions about their ability to hold the White House accountable while some Democrats say they see a potential avenue for impeachment. ABC’s ALEXANDER MALLIN has more:

TRUMP HAS 'NO INTENTION' OF RELEASING TAX RETURNS, TREASURY SECRETARY SAYS. President Trump has "no intention" of releasing his tax returns, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Wednesday. "The president has no intention. The president has released plenty of information and I think it's given more financial disclosure than anybody else and the population has plenty of information,” Mnuchin said when pressed by ABC's JONATHAN KARL at a White House briefing on whether the U.S. public has the right to know what's in Trump’s tax returns. ABC's KATHERINE FAULDERS has more:

TRUMP TO CONTINUE PAYING OBAMACARE SUBSIDIES, LOWERING ODDS OF GOV. SHUTDOWN. Democrats say the White House has signaled that the cost-sharing reduction subsidy payments from Obamacare will continue even if languageguaranteeing them is not included in the government funding bill. The latest move by the White House removes a major obstacle in budget talks between Republicans and Democrats ahead of the funding deadline on Friday, and significantly lowers the odds of a government shutdown, notes ABC's BENJAMIN SIEGEL.

EXPERTS WEIGH IN ON IMPACT OF TRUMP'S TAX PLAN. Experts are already taking issue with president Trump's newly-released tax plan -- in particular the White House's claim that economic growth would offset huge losses in government revenue from the proposed corporate tax cuts. The plan calls for the corporate tax rate to be slashed from 35 percent to 15 percent. And the new plan would consolidate the seven tax brackets for individuals and reduce them to only three brackets: a 10-percent bracket, a 25-percent bracket and a 35-percent bracket, explain ABC's LAUREN PEARLE, ZUNAIRA ZAKI and RYAN STRUYK.

TRUMP SLAMS 'MASSIVE FEDERAL LAND GRAB,' CALLS FOR REVIEW OF NATIONAL MONUMENTS. President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday calling for a review of lands designated as national monuments, saying the practice had turned into a "massive federal land grab." The review will focus on the millions of acres in the U.S. that have been designated national monuments under the Antiquities Act in the past 21 years, which covers the administrations of Barack Obama and George W. Bush and the second term of Bill Clinton, notes ABC's MEGHAN KENEALLY.

TRUMP SUGGESTS HE'LL TAKE SANCTUARY CITIES CASE TO SUPREME COURT. After setbacks to his immigration agenda, President Trump criticized a federal judge's ruling on Tuesday that the federal government may not retaliate against so-called sanctuary cities by withholding funds, and he suggested that he'll take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. "First the Ninth Circuit rules against the [travel] ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings," Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. ABC's VERONICA STRACQUALURSI has more:

ANALYSIS: MEET 4 ASCENDANT DEMS LEADING THE FIGHT AGAINST PRESIDENT TRUMP. “The Future Is Female” was written on signs and shirts across the country during eye-popping women’s marches on Jan. 21, following President Donald Trump’s inauguration. That day seemed to kick off a period of unprecedented civic engagement, a lot of it in opposition to Trump’s policies and statements, which has lasted throughout the first 100 days of his administration. The left is obviously fired up, but who is leading the charge? ABC’s MARYALICE PARKS looks at some female Democratic politicians breaking through this spring:

CHAFFETZ WILL BE ABSENT FROM DC FOR 'IMMEDIATE' FOOT SURGERY. House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz will be out of commission for up to four weeks as he heads back to his home state of Utah for "immediate foot surgery," he announced in an Instagram post Wednesday night, ABC’s DAVID CAPLAN notes. The Republican congressman's absence from Washington means that he will miss a key vote on a spending bill to keep the government open, according to The Associated Press.


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