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GOP Rep. Wagner backs idea of tax cuts — and Mueller

U.S. Rep Ann Wagner, a Republican from Ballwin, raised $804,000 from Jan. 1 to March 31.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner is dismissing any talk about fellow Republicans firing special prosecutor Bob Mueller, who has charged three former campaign aides to President Donald Trump.

“We’re going to let special prosecutor Mueller and the Justice Department do their work,” said Wagner, R-Ballwin, in an interview. “I’ve got work to do here in the 2nd district and in Congress. Everybody should do their job.”

Trump has been publicly critical of Mueller. The former FBI director is investigating allegations of improper Russian influence in the 2016 elections, and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Two former campaign aides were indicted Monday, and another pleaded guilty several weeks ago.

Wagner is not commenting on the charges. But she is confident Congress will allow the investigation to continue. “Let the prosecution and the investigation proceed as it is,’’ she said.

Wagner has been in a tough political spot when it comes to Trump. She supported other GOP presidential candidates last year, initially endorsing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. She also condemned Trump’s comments that were caught on video in 2005 during a taping of Access Hollywood, where he made salacious comments about women.

But Wagner has been a strong advocate of most of the president’s policies since he took office.

That includes Trump’s support for a tax cut, and his actions against the  Affordable Care Act — which Congress and then-President Barack Obama approved in 2010.

Health care, taxes big on her agenda

Enrollment begins Wednesday for people seeking to purchase insurance through the ACA’s marketplace. Costs are going up, in part because the president has cut off subsidies to insurance companies in order to keep some premiums down.

Wagner reaffirmed her opposition to the ACA, saying there were other ways to reduce insurance costs and expand coverage. “The marketplace is failing under Obamacare,” she said.

Wagner supports “association health plans,’’ which would allow small businesses to band together to buy group plans for their employees. Trump recently signed an executive order to ease federal rules governing those types of plans.

Wagner’s key focus at the moment is on the details of the tax-cut proposal that Republican leadership in the House plan to unveil this week.

While she expects a lively debate over specifics, Wagner said her party is united on the basics.

“We’re going to make things simpler, easier, more affordable, and allow people to keep more of their resources to spend in our community and in our economy,” she said.

Wagner promised “real tax relief to middle-income families and businesses,” which she predicts will lead to more economic growth.

Wagner added that she will oppose any proposals to tax 401K retirement accounts, which millions of Americans use.

“We have a savings crisis in our country,” said Wagner. “Not enough people are putting money back for a rainy day, for a major purchase, for their security in retirement.”

Wagner also emphasized her support for legislation to battle human trafficking.  Her office helped organize Monday’s showing at Kirkwood High School of “I Am Jane Doe,’’ a film focusing on the human-trafficking problem. Hundreds of people attended.

Follow Jo on Twitter: @jmannies

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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