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Portman says 'at end of day' Republican tax plan to cut deficit

[WASHINGTON] The Republican tax plan, expected to feature sharp reductions to corporate and individual tax rates, won't raise the US budget deficit over the long term as many economists have forecast, Senator Rob Portman said.

"At the end of the day, this is going to be reducing the deficit because it's going to get the economy moving," the Ohio Republican, who serves on the Senate Finance Committee, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

Mr Portman, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget for about a year under President George W Bush, said that raising annual US economic growth to 2.3 per cent from 1.9 per cent would be enough to start lowering the deficit.

"This is going to change behaviour," he said of the tax plan.

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"The question is, by how much."

Wrangling over the details of the sweeping Republican plan, which is expected to include a deficit-busting US$1.5 trillion in tax cuts, is in full swing before the House is expected to release its version on Wednesday.

On Saturday, Representative Kevin Brady, the top tax writer in the House of Representatives, said he'll preserve a popular federal break for property taxes, while a major home builders' group pulled support after being told that the plan won't include a tax credit for mortgage interest.

The latest flare-ups show the difficult path ahead for legislation that Congress and Mr Trump have pledged to deliver by year's end.


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