As soon as the book was closed on repealing the Affordable Care Act, Republicans turned their attention to tax reform. If the past is any evidence of the future, the coming legislative battles won’t get any easier.
Early analysis of the issue has already labeled the winners and losers. While no one can agree who those winners and losers are exactly, one thing is certain: House Republicans from high tax states in the North, Midwest, and West are unhappy about a provision that would stop middle class families from deducting state and local taxes.
“I’m going to fight this out and hopefully have success in getting this restored. I am going to do what I can to rally states like New Jersey and New York, Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, Connecticut,”
said Rep. Tom Macarthur (R-NJ). Red state Democrats, like Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), have also voiced their concerns saying,
“Well, it was a framework, so there are a lot of I’s to be dotted and T’s to be crossed”.
Even GOP Trump stalwarts, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), have voiced their opposition to this provision of the GOP tax plan. While this may be early horse trading, a tool used by members of Congress to get the best results for their districts, Republican discontent at the outset may be an early indicator of yet another failed GOP initiative.
Senator Roy Blunt, the former majority whip in the House, believes that failing to pass tax reform before the December break could spell disaster for Republicans in next year’s midterm elections. Blunt said,
“You need to quickly choose which of these fights you can win within 75 days”.
President Trump and his administration should take the Senators words to heart because, while getting the vote of moderate may be tough, getting the vote of any democrat will be even tougher. We’ve seen this play out before, and it doesn’t end pretty.
President Trump plans to enlist vulnerable Democrat members of Congress, like Senators Joe Donnelly (IN), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), and Joe Manchin (WV), who may find it difficult to be reelected. The President said,
“I think they’re going to approve it. Actually, I think we’re going to have numerous Democrats come across because it’s the right thing to do”.
Convincing a few democratic senators to cross the aisle may be the most important hurdle for House and Senate Republicans. Democrat leaders in the House and Senate have already blasted the GOP’s proposal signaling another difficult legislative slog.
Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer D-NY), has been out front criticizing the GOP’s proposal claiming the plan provides a financial “windfall” for the rich. Still, a few weeks ago, Schumer was caught on a hot mic saying, “He likes us. He likes me, anyway”. Maybe, they can find some common ground, and work together. Let’s hope.