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Andrew Harnik / AP

Here's what Trump's two point men on tax reform. Gary Cohn and Steven Mnuchin, have been telling business representatives and special interests in their closed-door meetings, per sources in the rooms:

Timing: Goal is to have an agreed upon House-Senate-White House tax reform proposal by early September for when members return from summer recess. They would then use September, October, November to push through tax reform.

Key question: They're posing the same question to special interest groups: "If we can get the corporate rate into the teens, what are you willing to give up?"

  • Translation: They're trying to use the lure of a 15% corporate tax rate as the way to ween special interests off of their special deductions within the tax code.
  • Revenue neutrality: Both Cohn and Mnuchin still say they're committed to tax reform being revenue neutral — i.e. not adding to deficits. That's important because lots of conservatives support tax cuts that aren't paid for. "At one point with Cohn, he kind of said, 'I wish we didn't have to do revenue neutrality,'" said a source who's spoken to him recently. "I don't think they've given up on it though. I think they're committed."
  • Carve outs: Cohn and Mnuchin have realized that the only way they're going to get a tax bill through Congress is by making special "carve out" exceptions — to allow certain politically-powerful industries to continue to deduct their interest. Keep an eye on real-estate, infrastructure, and small businesses. The downside: once you start carving all these industries out, your trillion dollar pay-for suddenly becomes much smaller.
  • Deductions: The only deductions they're committed to keeping are for charitable giving, retirement and mortgage deductions. They're determined to remove state and local income tax deductions. They've also got a line to sell this controversial decision to blue state Republicans (whose constituents make the most of these deductions.) The sell: we're going to increase the standard deduction for individuals' income tax, so even if they lose their state and local, the vast majority of Americans won't have higher taxes.

Go deeper

Biden to sign executive orders focused on women's rights

President Biden. Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden will sign executive orders Monday establishing a Gender Policy Council and directing the Department of Education to review the federal law Title IX, according to administration officials.

Why it matters: The Biden administration is signaling its priorities to advance gender equity and equality as women, particularly women of color, have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

3 hours ago - World

Report: U.S. calls for UN-led Afghan peace talks

Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department in Washington, D.C., in February. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a letter outlining a plan to accelerate peace talks with the Taliban that the U.S. is "considering" a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, Afghan outlet TOLOnews first reported Sunday.

Why it matters: In the letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, also obtained by Western news outlets, Blinken expresses concern that the Taliban "could make rapid territorial gain" after an American military withdrawal, even with the continuation of U.S. financial aid, as he urges him to embrace his proposal.

Harry and Meghan accuse British royal family of racism

Photo: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via Reuters

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delivered a devastating indictment of the U.K. royal family in their conversation with Oprah Winfrey: Both said unnamed relatives had expressed concern about what the skin tone of their baby would be. And they accused "the firm" of character assassination and "perpetuating falsehoods."

Why it matters: An institution that thrives on myth now faces harsh reality. The explosive two-hour interview gave an unprecedented, unsparing window into the monarchy: Harry said his father and brother "are trapped," and Markle revealed that the the misery of being a working royal drove her to thoughts of suicide.