U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) (C) holds up a tax filing ‘postcard’ as Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (L) and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R) looks on during a press event on tax reform September 27, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, DC.
Democrats in the conference meeting quickly slammed the event, saying the decisions on the tax proposal had already been made.
“This is an obvious attempt to lend credibility to a baseless Republican talking point about following regular order. Nobody ought to mistake this conference for regular debate,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called the meeting a “farce.”
Trump is slated to make additional remarks on the tax bill later in the day.
The Republican proposal chops tax rates for businesses and at least temporarily trims the tax burden on individuals. It changes numerous deductions and tax breaks and is expected to add $1 trillion or more to federal budget deficits over a decade, according to congressional estimates.
Democrats argue that the plan does too much to help wealthy individuals and corporations and does not provide enough relief for the middle class.
Earlier Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged Republicans to delay voting on the tax bill until Alabama Democrat Doug Jones is sworn into the Senate. Jones is projected to win Tuesday’s special election for the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Schumer called it “wrong for Senate Republicans to try to jam through this tax bill” before Jones can vote. Republicans have talked for months about passing a tax plan before the end of the year and appear unlikely to delay.
Once made official, Jones’ victory would reduce the Republicans’ edge in the Senate to 51-49 seats.
Trump said Wednesday that it was “important” to vote on the tax bill next week, but not only because the GOP lost a seat in Alabama.
— CNBC’s Ylan Mui and Eamon Javers contributed to this report.