Fox News 2024-04-03 16:03:28


Doctor walked out of White House meeting with Biden over Israel-Hamas war

Dr. Thaer Ahmad, a board member with MedGlobal, said Tuesday that he walked out of a meeting with President Biden at the White House to protest the administration’s actions on the Israel-Hamas war. 

“I spoke first and I let him know that I am from a community that‘s reeling,” Ahmad told CNN’s Kaitlin Collins of his meeting with Biden. “We are grieving. Our hearts are broken for what‘s been taking place over the last six months. And the rhetoric that has been coming out of the Biden Administration, that has been coming out of the White House, it‘s frustrated a lot of people, especially people who are Palestinian Americans, Muslim Americans, Arab Americans. We are not satisfied with what has taken place.”

Ahmad said that he shared his concerns with Biden about the well-being of Gaza residents in the face of a possible invasion of Rafah by Israel. 

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“I was able to share that with the president and let him know that out of respect for my community, out of respect for all of the people who have suffered and who have been killed in the process, I need to walk out of the meeting and I want to walk out with decision-makers and let them know what it feels like for somebody to say something and then walk away from them and not hear them out and not hear their response,” he told CNN.  

When asked how Biden responded to Ahmad leaving the meeting, the doctor said that the president acknowledged his departure. 

“He actually said that he understood and I walked away,” Ahmad said.  

Ahmad asked what would happen to the civilians in Rafah, a city in Gaza. 

“I‘m telling you that every single humanitarian aid organization, every single person invested in what‘s taking place and watching, we are trying to scream at the top of our lungs, ‘Please, we cannot allow a ground invasion to take place. We need food to be able to enter and it to be distributed safely.’” 

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Ahmad said that he was the only “Palestinian American in that room” with the president. 

The doctor also cited the World Central Kitchen workers who were killed in an Israeli airstrike. 

“I‘m glad you mentioned the tragic loss of the World Central Kitchen workers who were a part of an approved route,” Ahmad said. “I mean, these are people who are coordinating and just trying to deliver food to hungry people, and they are assassinated in the process. There‘s so much wrong in Gaza.”

A White House official spoke about the meeting with Muslim community leaders in a statement shared with Fox News Digital.

“President Biden and Vice President Harris know this a deeply painful moment for many in the Muslim and Arab communities,” the official said. “President Biden made clear that he mourns the loss of every innocent life in this conflict. The President also expressed his commitment to continue working to secure an immediate ceasefire as part of a deal to free the hostages and significantly increase humanitarian aid into Gaza.  The President and Vice President will continue to engage with Muslim and Arab American communities and listen to the voices of all impacted by this conflict.”

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According to a source familiar with the meeting, Biden “listened respectfully, and continued to engage with participants about his work to secure an immediate ceasefire as part of a deal to free the hostages and significantly increase humanitarian aid into Gaza.”

Deputies shot, killed teen kidnapping victim as she was seen surrendering

A California teenage girl who had been kidnapped by her father followed a sheriff’s deputy’s orders and appeared to be surrendering when she was shot and killed by other deputies during a gun battle on a highway in 2022, newly released video and audio shows.

Savannah Graziano, 15, was shot and killed as she ran toward San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies amid the gunfire on Sept. 27, 2022. Her father, 45-year-old Anthony Graziano, was also killed by gunfire.

The sheriff’s department released the video and audio clips last week following public records requests by several news outlets. The deputies were not wearing body cameras, but video footage was recorded by a sheriff’s helicopter and witness dashboard cameras.

Prior to the shooting of Savannah and her father, deputies pursued Mr. Graziano’s pickup truck for roughly 70 miles, including along Highway 15. A helicopter crew following the chase said shots were fired from the driver’s side of the truck, and a deputy and passing motorist said other shots were fired from the passenger’s side.

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It is unclear who was shooting from the truck.

Mr. Graziano’s truck and deputy vehicles stopped on the desert interstate east of Los Angeles in Hesperia, located about 35 miles north of Fontana, where he had shot and killed his estranged wife Tracy Martinez, who is also Savannah’s mother, the day before.

Savannah was just steps from making it safely to a deputy when she was fatally shot, the video shows.

A deputy taking cover behind a sheriff’s department SUV repeatedly shouts to Savannah, “Passenger, get out!” and “Come to me, come to me!”

The girl, who was wearing tactical gear and a helmet, exits the pickup truck’s passenger side and runs toward the deputy, briefly crouching on the ground as the deputy continues to shout commands.

Then, as she rises from her crouch and starts making her way toward the deputy, other deputies from a higher elevation open fire. The deputy screams, “Stop! Stop shooting her! He’s in the car! Stop!” Savannah was unarmed as the shooting unfolded.

The deputy’s orders to stop shooting were not broadcast over the radio, but the audio was captured by his belt recorder, the sheriff’s department said.

“Oh, no,” a deputy in the helicopter was heard saying over the radio after the girl was shot.

Officials would not disclose for months whether Savannah was killed by her father or the deputies. In the newly released video, the narrator said she and her father were struck by deputy rounds and died of their injuries.

The sheriff’s department has not released autopsy results for Savannah, her father or her mother. The department also has not identified the deputies involved in the shooting.

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Four sheriff’s department vehicles were struck by gunfire during the pursuit, and deputies seized multiple firearms and hundreds of rounds, as well as flash bangs, smoke grenades, body armor and tactical helmets from Graziano’s truck, the agency said.

The state’s Department of Justice, which is investigating the shooting, is required by state law to review any officer-involved shooting resulting in the death of an unarmed civilian.

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Savannah witnessed her mother’s killing from the backseat of her father’s truck but did not jump out to help her, according to authorities. Her father exited the vehicle with a handgun and fired several times at Martinez near an elementary school during the morning drop-off, prompting students and parents to seek cover. He also shot at a father and child near the school.

Graziano had moved out of the family’s home a month or two before he killed Martinez as the couple was going through a divorce, Fontana police said. Savannah left with her father while her younger brother stayed with their mother.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mysterious fireballs seen streaking across sky, leaving onlookers puzzled

Skygazers in California were left stunned early Tuesday when they witnessed a series of bright fiery lights streaking across the clear night sky.

Video shows the mysterious golden objects shooting across the sky in a straight line at around 1:30 a.m. in Moreno Valley, which is about 70 miles east of Los Angeles.

“What the hell!,” one puzzled onlooker in the video can be heard saying.

“Oh it’s a meteor shower, yeah, look at that s—, what the hell.”

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Many people on social media suspected it was debris from the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch the previous evening from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, which carried 22 Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit.

Others opined it may be from the Chinese Shenzhou 15 Orbital Module rocket that was predicted to re-enter near Los Angeles at 1:45 a.m. local time.

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At the end of the 45-second clip, the fiery shower appears to dissipate and die off.

Fox News Digital reached out to Space X and NASA for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.

The FAA says it had no reports of unusual aircraft activity in that area. 

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist and satellite tracker, told Space.com he believes the debris was from the Chinese orbital module that launched three astronauts to the nation’s Tiangong space station in November 2022. 

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It is not designed to come back to Earth safely at the end of its mission with astronauts re-entering via the Shenzhou reentry module.

The space website discounted the theory of the fireballs coming from the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch, noting that its hardware lands safely after launch and is reused, although the rocket’s upper stage is disposable.

Buttigieg has a message for critics of Biden’s push for electric vehicles

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg rejected criticism of the Biden administration’s push for America to embrace a future where electric vehicles (EVs) overtake internal combustion engines, comparing the dynamic to that of landline phone loyalists at the dawn of the cellular age.

Buttigieg denied such a push is premature, despite critics pointing to the costs of some green vehicles and the lack of technological proliferation to a realistic extent at the moment.

When “America Reports” anchor Sandra Smith reported on cuts to the workforce at Ford’s F-150 Lightning assembly plant in Dearborn, Mich. — where only one-third of workers will remain, beginning this week, according to the Detroit Free Press — Buttigieg said purchases of EVs continue to increase on an annual basis.

“Tesla is facing more competition as GM and Ford and Stellantis and other competitive players start to make sure they get a piece of the EV market. Let’s be clear that the automotive sector is moving toward EVs, and we can’t pretend otherwise,” he said in the wake of reported decreases in Tesla sales.

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“Sometimes when these debates happen, I feel like it’s the early 2000s, and I’m talking to some people who think that we can just have landline phones forever.”

Buttigieg made a point to highlight an electric vehicle technology race brewing between the United States and China, telling Fox News it is crucial that America stays ahead of China in the manufacturing game.

“We’ve got to make sure that those are made on American soil in places like northern Indiana, where I grew up, places like Michigan, where I live right now,” he said, adding that China made inroads in the sector during former President Trump’s administration.

“We’ve been working to make sure that that advantage comes back onto American soil,” Buttigieg stressed.

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For his part, Trump blasted the Biden administration’s EV push, offering an anecdote about Iowa’s bitterly cold winter and claiming “there were [stalled] electric cars all over the streets” because their batteries could not handle the -40 degree conditions.

Buttigieg said it is important to adhere to the administration’s shift toward an EV future while acknowledging critics pointing to the fact the battery charging stations are themselves powered by the same fossil fuels the policies seek to move away from.

The secretary claimed there is a difference in the side effects of charging stations powering lithium batteries versus internal combustion in an 87-octane engine.

“A lot of electricity is still generated by fossil fuels, but if you look at the science of it, you’ll see is that it is still more efficient, just as a matter of physics, to convert those fossil fuels into energy at a utility plant and then run it through transmission lines into a car than it is to burn it,” he said.

Buttigieg added that most IC engines rarely realize anything higher than 40 percent efficiency.

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He compared the state of the EV industry to the fledgling petrol-powered car industry of the 1920s.

“[W]e can’t afford to fall behind China,” he said.

“Remember, the number one way that we have supported EVs is by making them more affordable. That’s what those tax credits are about, and that’s one of the reasons why you’ve seen the prices get closer and closer to parity, so more Americans can save both buying an EV and then the savings that tend to come with owning one.”

Woman escapes captor who brutally tortured her for months, sheriff says

A Florida man with a history of violence was arrested Tuesday after a woman he allegedly kidnapped and brutally tortured for months found an opportunity to escape from his minivan, authorities said.

The victim had been panhandling near Hillsborough Avenue and Habana Avenue in Tampa since January, and she met 48-year-old Walter Medina around that time, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release on Tuesday. 

Medina initially gave the woman food and narcotics but soon his actions turned violent, subjecting the woman to “months of relentless physical abuse and captivity,” the sheriff’s office said.

Investigators said that Medina held the woman against her will for two and a half months. Medina allegedly used a wooden baseball bat and a flathead screwdriver to inflict broken ribs, deep puncture wounds and extensive bruising.

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The suspect is also accused of driving the victim around the Tampa Bay area and threatening to kill her if she ran or sought help.

The woman finally found her opening to escape her alleged captor on Monday when he briefly left her unattended at a Walgreens, authorities said.

Deputies responded to a Mobil gas station in Seffner after a witness reported that an injured woman just escaped from a van and needed help. Deputies found the victim with numerous injuries to her face and body, and she was taken to a local hospital for medical treatment.

“I can’t imagine the torture this victim endured for months, but I can imagine the relief she felt when our deputies arrived,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “I have to commend the bravery of the victim for escaping her captor and seeking help. Our thoughts are with her as she recovers from this traumatic ordeal.”

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Medina, however, briefly eluded deputies until the following day.

On Tuesday, Medina led deputies, police and troopers on a high-speed chase in his gold Town and Country Ford van across Polk and Osceola Counties. Medina hit speeds of over 100 mph and weaved through traffic in his attempt to escape capture, the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) said.

Medina eventually struck a raised median, which disabled his vehicle. When he refused to comply with troopers’ orders to surrender, FHP said troopers deployed a K-9 to help apprehend him.

“This suspect’s reign of violent terror is now over,” Chronister said. “I am endlessly grateful for our law enforcement partners who put their lives on the line in service and protection of our community while apprehending this suspect. This joint effort exemplifies the strength of our community’s law enforcement network and our shared commitment to keeping our streets safe.”

Medina was charged with attempted second-degree murder, armed kidnapping, armed false imprisonment, aggravated battery with great bodily harm, tampering with a witness, and tampering with physical evidence.

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Medina had previously served time in prison for an earlier false imprisonment case and has an arrest history that includes charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and robbery.

‘American Idol’ contestant has awkward tiff with judge Luke Bryan

American Idol” is heating up with so much drama this season.

On Sunday’s episode, which culminated in the final 24 contestants moving forward to the next round, judge and country crooner Luke Bryan got into a tiff with contestant Madaí ChaKell, 22. The singer took issue with his commentary, choosing to mock his Southern accent at the end of her performance.

To understand the palpable awkwardness of Sunday’s episode, you would have needed to see ChaKell’s original audition. During the first round, she and Bryan first clashed over her eccentric performance of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl,” which she performed in multiple genres.

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Before she started singing, ChaKell hinted that she could imitate accents and change her tone of voice.

“I think you’re still a year or two away [from] really perfecting who you are as the individual artist,” Bryan told the Massachusetts native. 

“I think you’re just trying to grab people’s attention,” Perry, also a judge, added. “So you want to grab it, and then you want to hold it.” 

Although Bryan didn’t vote her through to Hollywood, she had the support of Perry and Lionel Richie, which earned her a spot in the next round.

On Sunday’s episode, with the contestants now in Hollywood, host Ryan Seacrest asked ChaKell what she was “doing to impress Luke.” 

“I definitely tapped more into myself since he said I probably didn’t really know who I was. So I did some more digging and found more of her,” she explained. 

In a confessional, ChaKell said she wants “to prove to Luke that I’m a true performing artist.”

But things didn’t go as planned, with ChaKell not meshing with her provided accompaniment. Singing Ariana Grande’s song “Tattooed Heart,” she asked the pianist to start the song over again before completely dismissing them. “Okay, we’re gonna do this acapella because that’s not flowing the way we practiced,” she announced.

Once she finished, Bryan asked ChaKell if she “was feeling okay” and if her “voice was 100%.”

“Not to where I would like it,” she responded. 

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“Obviously, I don’t know what went on in rehearsals, but [a] lot of stuff going on up there. It was a little shaky in some spots, but thanks for performing for us,” he told her before she walked off-stage. 

The audio then cut to a distraught ChaKell explaining what went wrong. 

“My pianist completely just flipped the script on what we practiced. They also tried to play the card, ‘Is your voice okay?’ What do you think? I was shaky… Look what you all just did! Is your voice okay, Luke? I haven’t heard you sing,” she countered.

Producers ultimately gave her a second chance, allowing her to perform one more time.

“It’s great to have you back, and we understand all the dynamics of it now, and we’re glad that you get another opportunity,” Bryan told the 22-year-old. “And like I said, in this moment, your moment, we want you in the most comfortable situation possible.”

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Without skipping a beat, ChaKell shared what would make her more comfortable. 

“Okay, so with that being said, can I have a chair perhaps? Cause I’m getting a little bit shaky,” seemingly referring to Bryan’s earlier commentary. ChaKell then commenced with her performance, singing her final lyric, ‘heart,’ with an overt country twang.

“Why the ‘heart’ that way?” Bryan asked. 

“You know,” she began, with a British accent. “You know, you said something before. You were like, ‘I don’t really know who I am quite yet.’ So I wanted to show you that I can be everyone and everything. Isn’t that what an ‘American Idol’ is?”

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“Maybe we’ll do ‘American Humble’ at some point,” Bryan retorted as she walked off-stage again. 

“Probably not winning the audience for that one,” he added.

“I am proud of the moment because I just feel like it definitely showed my boss energy. But yeah, it is what it is,” ChaKell told the cameras.  

Ultimately, she did not earn a spot in the top 24. 

A representative for Bryan did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. “American Idol’s” 22nd season airs on Sundays and Mondays.

Chiefs, Royals’ futures in Kansas City thrown for loop after voters reject stadium tax

The futures of the Chiefs and Royals in Kansas City, Missouri, were thrown off on Tuesday after voters rejected a sales tax measure that would have backed major renovations to Arrowhead Stadium and helped fund a new ballpark for the MLB team.

More than 58% of voters in Jackson County rejected the plan, which would have replaced an existing three-eighths of a cent sales tax that had been paying for the upkeep of the Truman Sports Complex with a similar tax that would have been in place for the next 40 years. The complex is home to both Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums.

The Royals sought to use their share of the tax revenue to help fund a $2 billion-plus ballpark district. The team had pledged $1 billion from ownership.

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The Chiefs sought to use their share of the tax revenue to help fund $800 million in renovations to Arrowhead Stadium. Ownership committed $300 million to the plan.

“We’re deeply disappointed as we are steadfast in our belief that Jackson County is better with the Chiefs and the Royals,” Royals team owner John Sherman said. “As someone whose roots run deep in this town, who has been a dedicated fan and season-ticket holder for both of these teams, and now leading a remarkable ownership group.”

Chiefs president Mark Donovan, who already teased the possibility of the Chiefs leaving Jackson County, said the organization would do “what is in the best interest of our fans and our organization as we move forward.”

“We’ve been talking a lot about the democratic process. We respect the process,” Donovan said. “We feel we put forth the best offer for Jackson County. We’re ready to extend the long-standing partnership the teams have enjoyed with this county.”

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The Royals have been playing in the ballpark known as “The K” since 1973 when it opened as Royals Stadium. The name was changed to Kauffman Stadium to honor the team’s fisrt owner, Ewing Kauffman. It underwent its last major renovation in 2009.

In the fall, the organization unveiled two potential locations for a new ballpark – the eastern edge of downtown Kansas City or across the river in Clay County. But in February, after a self-imposed deadline passed, the organization scrapped both plans and chose a new area, called the Crossroads near the city’s Power & Light district and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

The new Royals plans faced a roadblock when Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said the organization couldn’t shut down a major street as part of the stadium’s footprint. The Royals agreed to the change. Royals executive vice president Sarah Tourville said the goal was to move into a new stadium in 2018.

The Chiefs wanted to stay in Arrowhead with a hefty overhaul, which would have included renovations to the seating from the bowl to luxury amenities to the tailgating.

“We would not be willing to sign a lease for another 25 years without the financing to properly renovate and reimagine the stadium,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said before the vote. “The financing puzzle is very important to us to make sure we have enough funds to do everything we’ve outlined.”

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Voters had accused executives of both teams of a lack of transparency in their plans.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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China sends warplanes, boats around Taiwan following phone call between Xi and Biden

Dozens of Chinese warplanes and multiple naval ships were reported around the island of Taiwan this week, the largest coordinated display this year. 

At least 30 planes and nine ships were detected in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) by the country’s Ministry of National Defense (MND).

“30 PLA aircraft and 9 PLAN vessels operating around Taiwan were detected up until 6 a.m. (UTC+8) today. 20 of the aircraft entered Taiwan’s northern, middle line, and SW ADIZ,” the Taiwanese MND announced via social media. “[Republic of China Armed Forces] have monitored the situation and employed appropriate force to respond.”

“The Republic of China” is the official name of Taiwan, compared to its mainland, communist contemporary, the People’s Republic of China.

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The coordinated display of military force by the People’s Liberation Army around Taiwan followed a phone call between leaders of the People’s Republic of China and the United States.

President Biden held a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday – the first time the two have spoken since July 2022.

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The White House has yet to offer details about the call, but Biden and Xi were expected to discuss Taiwan, narcotics, artificial intelligence and China’s support for Russia against Ukraine

The White House described the conversation as merely a “check-in” between the two leaders.

Biden last spoke with Xi in person in November, their first public interaction since Biden took to referring to Xi as a “dictator” in June of last year. Biden used the term after the U.S. shot down a Chinese spy craft on the East Coast after allowing it to traverse the continental U.S.

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Biden again referred to Xi as a dictator in November last year as conversation around Taiwan heated up.

Biden has stated repeatedly in the past that the U.S. would intervene if China were to invade Taiwan, but the White House has walked back the statement each time.

Biden’s sprawling tax-hike plan could put 800,000 Americans out of work

President Biden has pitched an array of tax hikes targeting corporations and wealthy Americans, but the steeper levies could weigh on the already-fragile U.S. economy, according to the Tax Foundation. 

Findings from the Tax Foundation, a group that advocates for lower taxes, found the higher taxes laid out in Biden’s sweeping budget blueprint for federal spending in fiscal 2025 would reduce economic output by 2.2% in the long run, slash wages by 1.6% and kill about 788,000 full-time equivalent jobs.

The policies outlined in the plan would “make the tax code more complicated, unstable, and anti-growth, while also expanding the amount of spending in the tax code for a variety of policy goals not related to revenue collection,” the report said.

As part of the proposal, Biden called for a 25% minimum tax rate on households worth more than $100 million, raising the capital-gains tax rate, quadrupling the corporate stock buyback tax to 4%, raising the corporate tax rate to 28%, increasing the Medicare tax paid by wealthy Americans, implementing a global minimum tax on multinational corporations and closing the carried interest loophole used by private equity and hedge fund managers.

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Altogether, the tax increases would reduce the federal deficit by about $3 trillion. Money from the newly generated revenue would also help to pay for expensive new programs floated by the president, including a monthly tax credit to help some homeowners offset steep mortgage payments, subsidies for child care and lower prescription drugs.

In the case of the capital gains tax, the proposed changes would “push the United States beyond international norms,” according to the Tax Foundation. 

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By taxing wealthy Americans’ capital gains as ordinary income, Biden would ultimately raise the top tax rate paid on capital gains to 49.9% – the steepest level in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

But the Tax Foundation analysis labeled the corporate income tax proposal the “most harmful” to economic growth. The budget proposal would lift the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%, rolling back a key part of former President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax law. The measure also calls for increasing the taxes that U.S. companies owe on their foreign earnings to 21% – nearly double the current 10.5% rate.

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Higher taxes on corporations are the “largest driver of the negative” economic effects and alone would trim the nation’s GDP by 0.9%, wages by 0.8% and full-time equivalent jobs by 192,000, the study shows. 

“Our economic estimates likely understate the effects of the budget since they exclude two novel and highly uncertain yet large tax increases on high earners and multinational corporations, namely a new minimum tax on unrealized capital gains and an undertaxed profits rule (UTPR) consistent with the OECD/G20 global minimum tax model rules,” the report said.

Still, the proposals are unlikely to garner support in a deeply divided Congress, and face almost certain rejection from Republicans who control the House.