U.S. Chamber of Commerce ads pressure Congress to get tax reform done

Donald Trump on tax reform
Donald Trump on tax reform

The country's most powerful business lobbying group is launching a million-dollar ad campaign this week to help sell Americans on tax reform and put pressure on lawmakers to finalize a plan.

"Americans deserve a tax system that grows our economy and creates jobs," a woman says in the 30-second ad paid for by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "So let's close loopholes."

The ad campaign will target districts across the country, stressing how lowering tax rates will boost growth and create more jobs. In it, the organization calls on Americans to reach out to their lawmakers to press for a tax overhaul bill. The campaign will launch first in New York in partnership with the Business Council of New York State. The Chamber did not specify the exact amount it would be spending on the campaign.

"The time for tax reform is now," said Neil Bradley, U.S. Chamber of Commerce senior vice president and chief policy officer in a statement Thursday.

Related: Steven Mnuchin infuriates House Republicans at tax reform meeting

Bradley said the Chamber plans "to hold lawmakers accountable to make sure this gets done for the American people."

In July, Chamber president and CEO Thomas Donohue sent a letter to Congress, noting the Chamber had endorsed 240 candidates in last year's election.

"A year from now, we will be evaluating congressional candidates based on their support for the free enterprise system and their willingness to govern, as demonstrated by what role they played in helping enact the first major tax reform in 30 years," he wrote.

Five districts in New York -- all led by Republican House lawmakers -- are the first to be targeted by the ad campaign, which will appear on television and online. The ads are expected to span the political spectrum appearing in other states and both Republican and Democratic districts in the weeks and months to come, according to the business lobbying group.

President Trump has been pushing tax reform at events across the country, saying the Republican plan to overhaul the tax code would be a boon for lower- and middle-class Americans.

Related: 4 ways the White House says tax reform will put money in workers' pockets

"We're here today to launch our plans to bring back Main Street by reducing the crumbling burden on our companies and on our workers," Trump said last month in Springfield, Missouri. "The foundation of our job creation agenda is to fundamentally reform our tax code for the first time in more than 30 years."

Trump has also been putting pressure on members of Congress to get behind his sparsely detailed tax reform plan -- or else. He's called on Americans to vote lawmakers out of office if they don't get on board.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin initially set the end of August as a deadline for passing tax reform. In April, the administration released several topline numbers of its proposal, but the White House and Congress failed to sync up in their ambitions for reform.

Mnuchin has since said he hopes to get a legislative package to the President's desk by the end of the year.

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