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Democrats Preview Challenge to GOP’s Tax Bill Message

Posted on February 8, 2018 by Dylan F. Moroses

Democrats are offering a taste of their election year argument against the GOP’s new tax law, pointing out that corporations, not individuals, disproportionately reap the benefits.  

Senate Finance Committee ranking minority member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., told reporters Feb. 7 that companies have “announced nearly $100 billion in corporate stock buybacks” since Republicans passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, while only 2 percent of adults have seen any benefit from the law.

Wyden’s pointed comparison is intended to counter Republican claims that the tax law benefits middle income taxpayers. Senate Democrats issued a report February 7 making that case, contending that the new tax law — which it refers to as the “GOP tax scam” — is intended to “cover up Republicans’ choice to give the middle class less so corporations could get more.”

Wyden also penned an open letter to U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, head of the Government Accountability Office, on February 7, requesting that the agency examine “how corporations are implementing recently enacted provisions of” the TCJA to show “what corporations are actually doing with the estimated trillion dollars in corporate tax cuts provided to them in this legislation.”

House Democrats also teased plans February 7 to revisit the tax law if they win back control of Congress in November. During the opening press conference of their policy retreat, House Ways and Means Committee Democrat Joseph Crowley of New York suggested that Democrats would not repeal the law, but would make temporary tax benefits for middle-income taxpayers permanent.

Although Crowley acknowledged that the GOP’s tax bill may have yielded some economic benefits, he contended that “certainty for American workers” is missing and noted the stock market’s recent volatility.

“Their tax cuts — they run out after a few years,” he said. “The tax cuts to the wealthiest corporations in the history of the world [will] continue in perpetuity.”

David van den Berg contributed to this report.  

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