As GOP leaders in Congress announced they would release an outline of Republican tax reform plans later this month, President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he would prefer a tax plan that leaves the tax burden on the wealthiest Americans unchanged, but didn't rule out the chance of a tax increase on those who make the most money.
"I think the wealthy will be pretty much where they are," Mr. Trump told reporters, making clear he wants the plan to leave the tax burden the same on top income earners, while leaving the door open to a possible tax increase on those same people.
"If they have to go higher, they'll go higher, frankly," the President said, before starting a White House meeting with a bipartisan group of moderate lawmakers from the U.S. House, known as the "Problem Solvers Caucus."
Mr. Trump made clear that he's more interested in tax cuts for the middle class, not a plan that would benefit the wealthy.
The President's comments came as he has engaged in a flurry of meetings with members in both parties - marked on Wednesday night by a private dinner with the top two Democrats in Congress, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.
"So, we have a lot of things in the fire," the President said, as he noted his Pelosi-Schumer dinner, which comes on the heels of a deal he cut with Democrats last week, that paved the way for approval of disaster aid for Hurricane Harvey, plus an extension of the debt limit, and a temporary budget for the federal government.
The President also couched the need for tax relief as a way for the government to respond to the damage from both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
"Because of that, more than ever, we need great tax reform, and great tax cuts," the President said, stressing the need for bipartisan reform.
"If we can do things in a bipartisan manner, that would be great," Mr. Trump added, as GOP leaders say their goal is to get a tax reform bill done by the end of this year.
Asked about conservatives who might be skeptical that he would work out another deal with Pelosi and Schumer, the President didn't mind tweaking the GOP.
"Well, I'm a conservative and I will tell you, I'm not skeptical," Mr. Trump noted.