Trump Infuriates Republican Allies By Casually Dropping Bombshell Tax News

Oops, President Donald Trump did it again.

His casual mention of a 22 percent corporate rate on his way to New York last Saturday kicked off a week of unexpected haggling on a topline tax issue many considered already settled, just as congressional negotiators are rushing to get a final bill to the president in time for Christmas — a date he himself has insisted on.

It’s the latest example of the president getting in the way of his party’s major legislative goal, even if unintentionally, and once again shows the perils for policymakers and legislators in the Trump era, when an unexpected, off-the-cuff comment or tweet can undo weeks of work.

On Friday, more than 20 conservative groups — including Americans for Tax Reform, Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and the National Taxpayers Union — sent a letter to congressional conferees reminding them that the groups’ original support for any tax overhaul was tied to that magic 20 percent figure.

“We’re not into this screwing around about the corporate rate,” said Adam Brandon, president of FreedomWorks. “The 20 percent rate is incredibly important to us because we need the rates as low as possible to make sure we get 3 percent economic growth heading into the election.”

Trump’s 22 percent comment reminded some of the moment, following the House’s tough passage of its health care bill, in which Trump undercut lawmakers by calling the bill “mean.”

This 22-percent instance was not as politically lethal, said former congressional aides — especially since the tax legislation seems on track to ultimately pass and that matters the most. But it showed that, once again, “Trump is not engaged with the specifics at all on the debate,” added a former Senate leadership aide.