Trump tells senators in meeting over tax bill: “We’ll fix it”

Ohio’s Brown, Portman met with the president in the White House.

Ohio’s two senators felt cautiously optimistic about Congress’ chances of passing comprehensive tax reform Wednesday after a morning meeting at the White House with Republicans and Democrats from the Senate Finance Committee.

The group, which included Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman of Ohio, huddled with President Donald Trump to push their respective priorities for tax reform.

Speaking briefly at the beginning of the meeting, Trump said the current proposal would increase the child tax credit, end the estate tax and cut the business tax rate to no more than 20 percent.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, in my opinion,” said Trump, adding that “the timing is right.”

Brown, a Democrat who has found common ground with Trump on some trade and U.S. manufacturing issues, used the meeting to push for the increase of the child tax credit — something Trump’s daughter Ivanka has advocated — as well as expanding and increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit.

He also pushed to advance a proposal he’s authored to reward companies that keep jobs in the United States.

Afterward, Brown said it was the first time he’s been to visit Trump at the White House.

He was encouraged by the conversation. Trump, Brown said, “says this is about a middle class tax break that doesn’t give the richest one percent a tax break.”

However, he said he’s concerned that the framework released by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would benefit the very rich. He said he’s hopeful that Trump will stick with the principles outlined in the meeting.

“I think he could make a deal with the Democrats and there would still be a bill he’d be happy with,” said Brown, adding that the president used the words “bipartisan” and “middle class” several dozen times during the meeting.

“He kept saying that’s what he wants to do,” Brown said. “And we kept pointing out that the bill doesn’t exactly do that, and he said, ‘we’ll fix it.’”

Portman, meanwhile, called the meeting “productive.”

Both parties, he said, “agreed tax reform should focus on helping middle-class families, and that’s what our plan does.”

“Our tax reform framework will help create more jobs, increase wages, and encourage more investment and opportunities in America,” Portman said after the meeting. “I remain optimistic that, by working together, we can simplify and reform our outdated tax code on behalf of middle-class families and small businesses.”