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Trump pops a congressional Republican trial balloon about how to pay for tax cuts

Trump says “no change” to 401(k)s, after reports of Republicans’ proposals to change them.

President Trump Meets With Members Of House Ways And Means Committee
 U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with the House Ways and Means Committee next to the chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX).
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Donald Trump conducted tax reform negotiations over Twitter Monday morning, assuring Americans that there would be no change to how they save for retirement.

On an early Twitter tear Monday, seemingly tied to the morning talk shows, Trump appeared to be responding to reports late last week that Republicans were considering capping how much money can be put in a traditional 401(k) — the tax-deferred retirement saving plan.

But Trump said that wouldn’t happen.

Republicans, who are set on passing a massive tax cut bill — which already looks like a bonanza for the wealthy — are struggling to find ways to pay for their proposals. On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that House Republicans were considering capping annual contributions to 401(k)s at possibly $2,400 — a huge cut from the current $18,000 for those under 50 and $24,000 for those older than 50.

Anything outside of these caps would be put into a Roth IRA savings account — which is taxed as money is put in, instead of when it’s spent, and also has a limit. It’s still not clear if this proposal has enough Republican support or whether it would be paired with other reforms — but already some top Republican senators have expressed concern that this would disincentivize retirement savings.

Trump’s administration has repeatedly assured the American public that it would push a tax plan that offered “retirement security,” and has been more involved in tax reform negotiations on Capitol Hill, but it appears the president is still commenting off the headlines.

Trump’s contributions to the tax reform debate have already proven to complicate things, as the president has made lofty promises that, put together, are unattainable.

Trump says he will sign “maybe the biggest tax cut we've ever had,” which will help the middle class, make the United States more competitive internationally, and lead to almost unprecedented economic growth in the years to come. And he’s promised to eliminate the federal debt in eight years while he’s at it.

Litigating the individual proposals — especially when it’s not even clear that they would be put forward — over Twitter probably won’t simplify Republicans’ negotiations.

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