Rep. Tom Reed

Rep. Tom Reed

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed said Tuesday he hoped President Donald Trump and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker can resolve their dispute over the senator’s recent criticism of the president.

In interviews over the weekend and on Monday, Corker, R-Tenn., who has announced he will not seek re-election, was concerned Trump’s actions could lead to World War III, and that the White House was in need of adult supervision.

Trump fired back in tweets that Corker had begged for his endorsement. Corker tweeted back that Trump had asked him to run for re-election. Corker expressed concern over the president’s tweets and off-the-cuff remarks over North Korea.

“I’m comfortable with the president and his leadership,” said Reed, R-Corning, one of the earliest Trump supporters in the House in the 2016 presidential primaries. Reed continues to be close to Trump and quick to defend the president. “His actions demonstrate to me that (Trump) is more than capable of moving us forward.”

Nonetheless, Reed added: “A dispute like that needs to be reconciled.”

That is particularly true when Republicans are planning on using their slim majority in the Senate to deliver on tax reform after faltering twice on the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, while overturning DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

“My hope is that they will be able to reconcile this,” Reed told reporters during his weekly press call. “It’s between the president and the senator.”

Reed added, “Obviously, any time you have a potential relation that sours” the best thing to do is for the parties to discuss it. “Knowing them both, they are committed to getting something done. My hope is that they will come to an agreement that is the right thing for people back home.”

ON ANOTHER MATTER, Reed would not say he would vote against a tax bill that included the end of state and local tax deductions. Instead, he said he would support a plan that addressed the issue for 95 percent to 99 percent of taxpayers.

Reed is a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee of the House.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week called on the New York congressional delegation to oppose the proposed end of deducting state and local taxes from federal taxes, as proposed in the Republican tax reform framework.

Reed said he and others met last week with representatives from “high-tax” states like New York, New Jersey, California to discuss the tax-deduction issue.

“We made our choice clearly known,” Reed said. “A solution needs to be adopted. I’m very confident we will have a solution that works for 95 to 99 percent” of taxpayers.

One possibility is a tax credit to cover the cost of state and local taxes, while another proposal would retain the deduction for many taxpayers by setting an income level above which the deduction would not be available, Reed said.

“If I can take care of 99 percent (of taxpayers) as part of getting tax reform,” Reed said, he would do it.

Reed led the press call with a call to pass a new bill he’s supporting to allow use of tax-deferred educational 529 savings accounts for apprentice programs. The bill has 13 Democrats as co-sponsors. It’s designed to help bridge the job-skills gap, particularly in manufacturing, Reed said. It may become part of the tax-reform plan.

On DACA, Reed said the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, which he co-chairs, has been meeting to see if it can’t find common ground for a solution to DACA, which the president curtailed, followed up by an agreement with Senate Democrats over the issue.

The situation remains in limbo, but Reed thinks a bipartisan agreement can be hashed out. Both sides, he said, “are committed to working across the aisle” on DACA.

Millions of children brought to this country illegally when they were very young by documented parents faced deportation under the president’s order.

“As we deal with a DACA deadline, we also need improvements in border infrastructure, not just a wall,” Reed said.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)

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