Pence Talks Up Tax Reform to Retailers

Vice President Mike Pence. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The White House is rallying American retailers to support its tax reform legislation, a campaign vow growing more important for Republicans as hopes for health care overhaul collapse.

Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday told retailers from around the country at the National Retail Federation’s annual Retail Advocates Summit in Washington, D.C., that President Donald Trump’s agenda will make the tax code “flatter and fairer and simpler for everyone” before the year’s end.

“This president is going to work with this Congress this year and we’re going to pass the largest tax cut since the days of Ronald Reagan,” Pence said.

Pence listed talking points from Trump’s tax plan, which earned support as a starting point for tax overhaul legislation from 48 percent of registered voters in an April Morning Consult poll and includes reducing the number of tax brackets from seven to three, eliminating estate taxes and lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent.

Pence made no mention of the hotly contested border adjustment tax, a tax on import income pushed by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that is now dwindling in support as the NRF targets it for takedown.

The group launched ads in April criticizing the tax as harmful to businesses and consumer prices, and has scheduled several dozen meetings Wednesday between advocates and representatives, according to NRF spokeswoman Robin Roberts. But the proposal, which was not included in the White House tax plan, lacks united GOP backing, with Ryan admitting last month it wouldn’t be feasible in its “present form.”

Pence also used the opportunity to plead for support on health care. NRF has opposed aspects of the Affordable Care Act, including strict employer mandates and reporting regulations.

“As you reach out to our elected representatives, tell them you’re counting on them to support the president’s agenda — less regulation, lower taxes, better infrastructure,” Pence said.

“And while you’re at it, tell them the time is now to repeal and replace Obamacare,” he added.

Morning Consult