WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- White House officials and congressional Republicans have begun early talks on a new package of tax reductions and economic growth measures amid signs of a slowing U.S. economy, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow is playing a lead role in the talks, but the discussions are preliminary and far from the decision stage, it reported.
We are having those discussions with the White House, we'll be engaging with them further, and we'll have discussions with Republicans, too, in the House about what we think the most pro-growth elements can be the most pro-innovation, Kevin Brady, top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, was quoted as saying.
The early-stage discussions reflect President Donald Trump's desire to refocus the economic narrative amid some signs of a slowing economy, the report said, noting the major tax cut package of 2017 backed by congressional Republicans and the Trump administration failed to produce enduring economic benefits or political gains for Republicans.
The media report came as the Commerce Department announced on Wednesday that the U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 1.9 percent in the third quarter of the year, slightly lower than the 2-percent growth rate in the second quarter. This marks a further deceleration from the first quarter's 3.1-percent growth rate.
Nonresidential fixed investment, a measure of corporate spending on structures and equipment, fell at an annual rate of 3 percent in the third quarter, following a contraction of 1 percent in the previous quarter.
The latest figures confirmed that Washington's tariffs against other trading partners continued to take a toll on American businesses and the overall economy.
The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday cut interest rates for the third time this year to try to boost more growth and help cushion against downside risks.
We took this step to help keep the U.S. economy strong in the face of global developments and to provide some insurance against ongoing risks, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters at a press conference Wednesday afternoon, highlighting the risks of slowing global growth, trade policy developments, as well as muted inflation pressure.