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Newt: Tax Bill by Thanksgiving ‘Absolutely Essential’

(AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, Chase Stevens)

WASHINGTON – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said on Monday that it’s “absolutely essential” Republicans have a tax bill in place by Thanksgiving, adding that he is collaborating with White House officials on the effort.

President Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and congressional Republicans unveiled details of the long-awaited tax reform plan last week. Gingrich, speaking at the Heritage Foundation, said that the party needs to seize opportunities afforded through Trump’s victory and majority in both chambers.

“Because Trump won and because we have the House and the Senate, there are opportunities here to move things,” he said. “I’ve been working on the tax bill, for example, because I think that it is absolutely essential that we get a tax bill done by Thanksgiving, and that’s a huge project, and that’s one of the things I was talking to people at the White House about this morning.”

Much of Monday’s discussion concerned Gingrich’s accomplishments in office as he promoted Citizen Newt, a new biography detailing the Georgia lawmaker’s life through the 1994 November elections, when the Republican Party saw success utilizing his Contract with America. Then-Minority Whip Gingrich co-authored the document with Rep. Dick Armey (R-Texas), outlining the GOP’s plan of action if the party won the House majority for the first time in four decades. Republicans gained 54 House seats and would celebrate a number of other victories, including a balanced budget for four straight years, the largest capital gains tax cut in history and reforms to the welfare system, the Communications Act and the Food and Drug Administration.

Gingrich also discussed Trump’s victory on Monday, arguing that the president took notes from Gingrich’s 2012 presidential bid.

“I think you have to see Trump in the framework of (the 1964 Republican nomination of Sen. Barry) Goldwater (Ariz.) and Reagan and the Contract of 1994, and I think, immodestly, in terms of my presidential campaign in 2012. A lot of the stuff I did in taking on the media is the precursor to what Trump did in 2015 and 2016,” Gingrich said. “He’s better at it than I am. He also had $70 million or $80 million, but he’s an extraordinarily gifted public educator and public figure, and people tend to forget that, that this is a man who has intuition about what he can get done, and so far he’s been more right than anybody else has been.”

Gingrich described Trump as not being conservative in “the classical sense,” but “anti-left, anti-stupidity and deeply patriotic.” The polarization of Trump, Gingrich continued, is “just a taste of what’s coming.”

“The truth is that the left is so out of touch with reality that every time you try to tell the truth, you’re automatically smeared and salted and attacked,” Gingrich said. “There is a radical polarization underway, in which the most vile language can be used to described the president of the United States, and it’s considered a joke on Saturday Night Live.”

Gingrich argued that social media played a heavy role in the 2016 election, much like the emergence of C-SPAN contributed to Republican successes of the early 1990s.

“I think it’s very likely that Trump could not have won if there wasn’t social media. Similarly, I don’t think we would have emerged without C-SPAN,” he said.

Despite a widening divide, Gingrich said that American values will ultimately prevail and 320 million Americans will decide that Chinese authoritarianism and Islamic dictatorships “are not acceptable futures.” He said that America is a country with a knack for overcoming adversity, noting that in 1776 the U.S. was down to 2,500 soldiers in Washington’s army, a third of those without shoes.

“There is an immense amount of sacrifice required of free people,” Gingrich said.