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Trump to House GOP: Pass Tax Cuts or Lose in 2018

President Donald Trump gave House Republicans a pep talk mixed with a political warning in a discussion over tax reform on Sunday afternoon.
Image: President Donald Trump speaks from the Diplomatic Reception room of the White House
President Donald Trump at the White House on Oct. 13.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images file

President Donald Trump gave House Republicans a pep talk mixed with a warning on Sunday afternoon, saying the 2018 midterm elections would be "really bad" if they failed to pass a major tax package.

If Republicans succeeded, the president added, it would be "like skating on ice," according to two sources on the call.

The Trump administration plans to reduce the number of allowed tax deductions, which it claims would allow it to lower tax rates and simplify the tax code. The president has also said he wants to lower the corporate tax rate, which currently sits at 35 percent.

During the call, Trump suggested that House members refer to the package as "tax cuts" rather than "tax reform" because the average American wouldn't understand what "tax reform" means.

Related: Trump's Tax Plan: What Happens Next

The meeting comes after Republican leaders laid out an ambitious plan to pass the Senate's version of the measure by the end of this week, which would accelerate the timetable by as much as two weeks. Republicans hope to then pass the bill through the House before Thanksgiving, which would allow for a conference committee with the Senate and potential final passage before the New Year.

While discussions were underway, Trump took the opportunity to praise Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has threatened to vote the motion down but has indicated that he supports tax reform. Trump also claimed that he could get Democrats to support the bill.

But Democrats have not indicated their strong support for the plan, as they have lately pointed to Kansas' decision to slash taxes — which they claim devastated the state.

The president also used the opportunity to discuss his other legislative priorities, which include welfare reform and allowing states to use block grants for health care.