Breaking down the good and the bad with Trump's tax plan

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," October 11, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Let's get some analysis of this pitch. Let's bring in the panel: Charles Hurt, opinion editor for The Washington Times; A.B. Stoddard, associate editor at RealClearPolitics and host of "No Labels Radio" on SiriusXM and Tom Rogan, commentary writer for The Washington Examiner. By the way, welcome to Washington. This is "Special Report."

And Charlie, it is -- it was classic President Trump on this page but clearly they are trying to emphasize the middle-class part of the pitch.

CHARLES HURT, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: Yes. This is by far the most populist presidency that we've had in certainly modern times. I don't ever remember a president campaigning or hosting an event with long-haul truck drivers. If there are people who fall in the category of being forgotten then in politics, they would deftly be some of them.

I've also never heard a president walk offstage to Creedence Clearwater, Suzie Q. All those things. I'm in favor of all of these things by the way. But I think, two other things that I think sort of interesting. One is clearly this is -- that President Trump wants to own the news cycle, and I think it's where we're going to see going forward as he gears up for reelection.

He wants -- he started his speech at 5:50 in the afternoon. Obviously, he wanted to own the time period and he wants to go around the media and talk directly to people. The second thing obviously, he's in Pennsylvania. He's going after Bob Casey who is up for reelection.


HURT: The Democrat who is -- in a state that Trump won. And he is clearly trying to send those signals that he aims to fight for his agenda in places like that.

BAIER: A.B., he turned to the lawmakers in the crowd and talking about tax reform, saying you better pass it.


BAIER: And then saying they will. Let's just talk about the reality of this. Fox Business Network had an interview with Kevin Brady, chairman of House Ways and Means Committee about the timing. Take a listen to this.


REP. KEVIN BRADY, R-TEXAS: The pivot is when they agree on a budget and giving us that firm baseline for tax reform. We will go immediately after that layout, let's call the chairman Marco. What it means is the Ways and Means Committee comprehensive tax reform plan with all the details. Then we'll begin the mark up in committee and house acts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But as soon as that could happen would be the last week of October, first week of November?

BRADY: Yes. So I learned a long time ago not to plot out timing in House moving (ph) these things go. But that would be the perfect timing going forward.


BAIER: So again, end of October, beginning of November. And to just to kind of parse that further, the budget lays down exactly the numbers they can deal with and then tells them what they can negotiate on the specific percentages.

STODDARD: Right. And all of that squabbling is going on behind closed doors right now. You have the president trying -- he is previously said in the middle-class miracle he's trying to make the pitch that this is going to be deep middle-class focused tax relief plan.

And all of those battles that occur from the rift between the conservative wing of the party and the sort of less deficit-focused wing of the party are going on right now. And as long as you have people like Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky saying if this provides a hit to the middle-class, a tax hike, you're not going to get my vote, that's why these next couple weeks are so pivotal, because they are really not at the details yet. There are many people that can still make the case that this is going to favor the wealthy and it's not going to be fair enough and helpful enough to the middle-class. And that's all being kept quite quiet, but it's a heated debate right now.

BAIER: The House Tea Party caucus has moved forward, and they have said we're going to support this framework. They have moved forward with the budget. The real question is in the Senate and what that all looks like. There are only 30 legislative days left before the end of the year.

TOM ROGAN, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: And I think you see the president today with this address, clearly it's about rejuvenating himself. You see how much fun he has with it. The hinting of rockets, whether it's Kim Jong-un or something else.

But also I think that moment in the White House, they need a legislative victory. They are running out of time. And when you get into the details of things like a state and local tax deduction and whether you can get something through without alienating Republican members in the northeast of the country, there's complexity and a limited window.

BAIER: There's a FOX News poll, Charlie, that says how important is it for Congress to pass tax reform this year. And it says extremely, 22 percent, very, 30 percent, somewhat 28 percent. In other words, people want to see something.

HURT: Absolutely. And I think A.B. is exactly right. The problem we're going to see, much like we saw with health care, is going to be between Republicans, more conservative Republicans and moderate Republicans.

But the Republican leadership has to understand that they are facing a situation yet again where if they don't figure out a way to come together and come up with something and work with Donald Trump on this, Donald Trump will walk across the aisle and try to negotiate something with Democrats. And obviously that makes it a lot trickier for a lot of reasons in terms of leadership and getting Congress to do stuff. But Donald Trump is not an ideologue on this stuff. And I think Republicans make a huge error in not doing everything they can to bring people together and get something done.

BAIER: OK, panel, thank you.

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