Se­nate Dems spell out con­di­tions on bi­par­ti­san tax leg­is­la­tion

Austin American-Statesman - - STATESMAN AT THE LEGISLATURE - By An­drew Tay­lor

Se­nate Democrats and in­de­pen­dents said Tues­day that up­com­ing leg­is­la­tion to re­write the na­tion’s tax code should en­sure the mid­dle class doesn’t pay more and the “top 1 per­cent” doesn’t pay less.

In a letter to Repub­li­can lead­ers, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, 45 of the 48 Se­nate Demo­cratic cau­cus mem­bers said they won’t sup­port any up­com­ing GOP ef­fort to over­haul the tax sys­tem that de­liv­ers cuts to the top 1 per­cent or adds to the gov­ern­ment’s $20 tril­lion debt.

Repub­li­cans con­trol­ling Con­gress are gear­ing up to ad­vance their tax mea­sure this fall, promis­ing to lower rates on busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als, while clear­ing out many tax breaks and de­duc­tions.

The letter says that Democrats hope to work with Repub­li­cans to pro­mote in­vest­ment and mod­ern­ize the out­dated tax code, but the terms laid out by Democrats are un­likely to tempt Repub­li­cans, who are plan­ning to use a fil­i­buster-proof Se­nate pro­ce­dure to ad­vance the leg­is­la­tion with­out their help.

“Any tax re­form ef­fort should not ben­e­fit the wealth­i­est in­di­vid­u­als, who have al­ready seen out­sized ben­e­fits from re­cent eco­nomic gains,” said the letter, au­thored by Mi­nor­ity Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and oth­ers and pro­vided to the me­dia.

“Tax re­form can­not be a cover story for de­liv­er­ing tax cuts to the wealth­i­est.”

The con­tours of the GOP tax plan are fuzzy at best, but House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., says he’s not press­ing for a large, deficit-fi­nanced tax mea­sure. But keep­ing GOP prom­ises for large rate cuts won’t be easy un­der those con­di­tions, given the dif­fi­culty in elim­i­nat­ing pop­u­lar de­duc­tions and tax breaks.

The most re­cent suc­cess­ful tax re­form ef­fort was in 1986 and re­quired a bi­par­ti­san push to over­come op­po­si­tion from pow­er­ful in­ter­est groups.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., a mem­ber of the GOP lead­er­ship team, said after the col­lapse on health care, law­mak­ers need to “see if we can’t put some wins on the board and cer­tainly tax re­form, in­fra­struc­ture are the kinds of things we ought to be look­ing at.”

GOP lead­ers also in­tend to re­ject an­other Demo­cratic de­mand: ad­vanc­ing the mea­sure un­der reg­u­lar leg­isla­tive pro­ce­dures in­stead of through the planned fast­track path.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.