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Donald Trump ties proposed tax cuts to Hurricane Irma and Harvey

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President Trump is once again trying his hand at bipartisanship – even suggesting on Wednesday that rich people may be taxed higher under a plan he would negotiate with congressional Democrats.

After meeting with moderate members of Congress on Wednesday, Trump said he expects wealthy Americans to be “pretty much where they are” under a new tax plan – but it’s possible their tax bills could increase.

“If they have to go higher, they’ll go higher, frankly,” Trump told reporters after meeting with a group of Democratic and Republican House members who could hold the balance of power on close votes.

Trump’s comments could open another rift with Republicans, who oppose tax hikes. But Trump’s eagerness to strike a deal on tax reform may mean he’s willing to align himself with Democrats.

As part of his tax push, Trump also scheduled a private dinner at the White House on Wednesday with congressional Democratic leaders, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California.

The meetings come just one week after his debt ceiling agreement with the Democratic leaders Trump somewhat affectionately called “Chuck and Nancy” angered some Republicans and scrambled the expectations for their legislative strategy through the end of the year.

Buoyed by last week’s deal, Trump appeared confident about an even bigger agreement over taxes.

“The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan,” Trump said. “We are looking for the middle class and we are looking for jobs – jobs being the economy. So we’re looking at middle class and we’re looking at jobs.”

Earlier, Trump tweeted: “The approval process for the biggest Tax Cut and Tax Reform package in the history of our country will soon begin. Move fast Congress!”

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Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
The approval process for the biggest Tax Cut & Tax Reform package in the history of our country will soon begin. Move fast Congress!
7:28 AM – Sep 13, 2017
7,862 7,862 Replies 12,900 12,900 Retweets 55,447 55,447 likes
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In his morning tweets, Trump linked his efforts to pass tax cuts with the need for recovery efforts from hurricanes Harvey and Irma. “With Irma and Harvey devastation, Tax Cuts and Tax Reform is needed more than ever before. Go Congress, go!” Trump tweeted.

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Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
With Irma and Harvey devastation, Tax Cuts and Tax Reform is needed more than ever before. Go Congress, go!
8:36 AM – Sep 13, 2017
16,272 16,272 Replies 13,512 13,512 Retweets 60,943 60,943 likes
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Trump has argued that cutting taxes and simplifying the tax code will spur economic growth, helping recovery in communities damaged in the recent storms.

Most of the House moderates – eight Democrats, five Republicans – who met with Trump on Wednesday belong to the self-described “Problem Solvers” caucus, led by Reps. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., and Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J.

Trump and his team, according to White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, will work with any Democrat “willing to work with us to deliver this critical relief for the American people.”

The president is in no way abandoning Republicans, she said.

Asked why GOP congressional leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan weren’t invited to dinner, Sanders said …

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