The White House Has Explored Ways to Sidestep Congress to Cut Taxes: Report

Yuval Rosenberg
·1-min read

The White House has explored whether President Trump has the authority to cut taxes without legislation from Congress, The New York Times reports:

“While such a move is not imminent, Mr. Trump’s advisers have sought legal guidance from White House lawyers about whether the president has the authority to eliminate certain taxes, including income and business taxes, without the approval of Congress.”

Daniel Hemel, a tax law professor at the University of Chicago, tells the Times that the administration “clearly can delay pretty much anything for a year.” But unlike Trump’s weekend move to defer payroll taxes through the end of the year, White House officials are discussing whether the president can actually “terminate” some taxes, as the president said he wants to do with payroll taxes. Any such effort is bound to run into legal challenges since the Constitution grants Congress the power to enact and collect taxes.

Trump said Monday that he was “looking very seriously at a capital-gains tax cut and also at an income-tax cut for middle-income families.”

The bottom line: Trump has a habit of talking tax cuts as elections draw near, and this time is no different, even if the chances of pushing another big tax cut through Congress appear questionable at best. “White House officials believe that temporarily delaying taxes is a powerful political tool for the president,” the Times’s Alan Rappeport writes. “It allows him to draw a contrast [with] Mr. Biden, who would raise some taxes if elected. And they believe that it will put Democrats in what will be the uncomfortable position of allowing those taxes to be reinstated when the deferment expires.”

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