Politicians react to tax bills

WASHINGTON, DC — People on both sides of the political aisle believe the Senate tax cut legislation that was passed on December 1 will be good for their party in the election in 2018. Republicans think it will help them maintain control of the Senate, but Democrats believe just the opposite. On the day it passed, Sen. Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, said, “My Republican friends must know that ‘we needed to notch a political win’ isn’t a good enough excuse for a constituent who asks why you voted to raise their taxes but slash them for big corporations.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand continued with the Democratic line that the tax plan is a gift to the wealthy at the expense of working families. She said on the Senate floor, “This is a blatant attempt to take millions of families’ hard-earned money and hand it over to rich corporations on the Fortune 500 list.” And she said Republican moves against the poor and middle class will continue with an assault on social programs. She said the bill would explode the deficit and, “And make no mistake, three months from now, the Republican leadership will use that new massive deficit as the reason to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”

Sen. Pat Toomey, who played an important role in determining just how large the deficit would be allowed to grow, said the legislation would be good for middle class. He said, “Our bill directly lowers the tax burden for middle-income families and fundamentally restructures the business tax code so American workers and businesses can compete globally. It transforms one of the world’s worst business tax codes into one of the most competitive, making it easier for entrepreneurs to start new businesses and giving employers greater incentives to buy new capital equipment and bring operations home from overseas. I am confident these reforms will unleash a surge in economic growth and job creation.”

Bob Casey, the other senator from Pennsylvania, saw it an entirely different light. He said, “This is an insult to the many middle-class families in Pennsylvania who will pay more in taxes under this scheme while the super-rich and big corporations get a windfall… In 2019, the country’s 572,000 richest households will see $34 billion worth of tax cuts, while the 90 million Americans making under $50,000 a year will see a fraction of that. That is both obscene and grossly unfair.”

Congressman Tom Marino did not issue a statement on the Senate’s vote, but voted in favor of the house version two weeks earlier. He said at the time: “The tax system in this country is too complex, too burdensome, and has stalled our nation’s prosperity and wage growth. We need to get our economy moving again to maximize job creation by making America the most desirable country in the world for businesses to invest and thrive. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act makes our tax code more fair and honest for hard-working middle-class families who today are struggling to keep up with rising costs.”

Congressmen John Faso did not issue a statement on the Senate tax bill, but on the version recently passed by the house, Faso voted “no.” Faso said he was opposed to the legislation primarily because of the provision that would no longer allow residents to deduct state and local taxes from their federal income tax bills. That was ultimately amended to allow taxpayers to deduct up to $10,000 in state and local taxes, but that still did not get Faso’s vote. However, later he did vote “yes”  to moving the process forward through the conference committee.

Gareth Rhoads, one of several candidates running to oppose Faso in 2018, wrote, “In the middle of the night, the party of Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and John Faso jammed a devastating tax bill through the Senate, robbing working and middle-class Americans in order to slash taxes for massive corporations, millionaires and billionaires.

“The numbers don’t lie: Over the coming decade, Americans earning between $40,000 and $50,000 will pay $5.3 billion more in taxes. Meanwhile, those making $1 million or more will pay $5.8 billion less. Over 160,000 taxpayers in NY-19 [the 19th New York Congressional District] will see an average increase of over $2,000 on their bill. My generation and our children will be stuck with the tab: $1.5 trillion of new debt.”

 

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