Well, we knew this wasn’t going to be easy, especially with Trump as President. We all know Tax Reform is needed! It’s way overdue! The vote was narrow with 13 Republicans joining Democrats in opposing the measure. Republicans passed the bill despite some opposition within the party over a plan to eliminate the popular State And Local Tax deduction (SALT) in the tax reform framework.
Here are the 13 GOP turncoats who voted against middle-class tax cuts:
The House voted on Thursday on the GOP plan to overhaul the tax code. Relatively few Republicans voted against it.
Only 13 Republicans joined with Democrats in opposing the measure, which gave GOP leaders a comfortable margin to pass their bill. Republicans could afford 23 defections with all but two members voting on Thursday.
GOP lawmakers have long wanted to cut taxes, and they face substantial pressure to secure a major legislative win before next year’s midterm elections.
Of the Republicans who voted against the bill, all but Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) were from high-taxed states such as New York, New Jersey and California. These states would be particularly hard hit by the bill’s treatment of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction.
The 13 GOP defectors were Jones and New York Reps. Dan Donovan, John Faso, Pete King, Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin; New Jersey Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen, Leonard Lance, Frank LoBiondo and Chris Smith; as well as California Reps. Darrell Issa, Tom McClintock and Dana Rohrabacher.
Most of the defectors are among the top Democratic targets in the 2018 midterm elections.
Currently, taxpayers can deduct their state and local property taxes as well as either their income or sales taxes. The House bill would repeal the income and sales tax deductions and cap the property tax deduction at $10,000.
Jones voted against the legislation because of concerns about the elimination of certain tax credits and deductions, as well as the impact on the deficit.
“I’m all for tax reform, but it must grow the economy, not the debt,” Jones said in a statement.
The House GOP’s tax-reform bill is expected to add $1.4 trillion to the deficit over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
Other conservative lawmakers who have cited concerns about deficit spending to consistently vote against bills in the past set aside those warnings on Thursday.
For example, Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) both supported the tax-reform bill on Thursday. Amash and Massie previously voted against aid for Texas communities affected by Hurricane Harvey in September because it would add to the deficit.
Amash similarly said that supporting tax cuts and spending reductions were consistent with limited government principles, writing on Facebook,
“I believe firmly in limited, constitutional government. That means, among other things, support for less government spending and lower, fairer taxes.”
“The idea is we’re making an investment now, which will in the short term increase the deficit, but as somebody who is definitely concerned about the deficit and the debt, this is the only way that we have to work ourselves out of this,” Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) told The Hill.
There were no defections on the tax bill from members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, which often finds itself at odds with leadership.
Some Freedom Caucus members were undecided in the days leading up to the vote because they were worried that not everyone would see a tax cut. But these lawmakers ultimately voted in favor of the bill.
“This is big step in the right direction, but it’s not going to be the only step,” said Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) shortly before the vote. “We’ve got to make sure that the tax-reform plan isn’t just a single bill but is a process that works for every American.”
The SALT deduction has been a major issue in the tax debate in recent weeks.
The tax framework congressional GOP leaders released in September proposed fully repealing the deduction, generating pushback from lawmakers in high-tax states like New York and New Jersey.
The House advanced its budget resolution last month by a narrow margin, largely because many of the lawmakers from those states opposed it due to their concerns about SALT.
As a compromise, House GOP leadership decided to include a limited deduction for property taxes.
The move won over some of the blue-state Republicans, such as Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.). After MacArthur announced his support for the bill, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and President Trump’s daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump visited MacArthur’s district to promote the tax overhaul efforts.
But a number of other blue-state Republicans were unsatisfied with the $10,000 property-tax deduction and were concerned that their districts would still be hurt by the tax bill.
“It’s supposed to be a tax-cut bill, but it’s going to be raising taxes on people in our communities and on New York State overall,” King said at news conference with three other New York Republicans ahead of the vote.
Faso said at the press conference that most middle-class families in his state would end up getting a tax cut, but the bill would be harmful because it would result in more businesses and entrepreneurs fleeing New York for lower-tax jurisdictions.
“This legislation will accelerate the trend of people leaving New York State, which will then place a greater burden on the people of my district and every district in New York State,” he said.
Here’s an idea, Faso. Maybe if your state spent less, and had lower taxes in the first place, these businesses wouldn’t leave.
As Rep. Claudia Tenney stated this bill is not perfect, but it’s a critical step in the right direction.
“While this bill is not perfect in its current form and there are changes I will continue to advocate for, especially on the SALT front, I strongly believe that passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a critical step to move this important process forward and ensure our tax codes reflects the values of fairness and hard work,” said Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.).
While passage of the House’s bill went smoothly, it is possible that some of the lawmakers who voted for the legislation won’t ultimately approve of any compromise legislation reached by House and Senate Republicans.
If the Senate is able to pass a bill, the House and Senate are expected to go to a conference committee to work out their differences.
It’s time to step up people! This is why you make the big bucks! This is why you were elected to office as a Republican – to support tax cuts and tax reform. Less government means more freedom. More freedom for the individuals to have the freedom to spend more of their money, versus the government.
If the Senate can pass a bill, then we should be able to get the two sides to come to a compromise and work things out. Yes, I know that’s asking for a lot.
For the Republicans that voted against it, well it seems that’s all about their upcoming election. They would rather stay in office than help the overall future of all Americans move down a path of tax reform, that is certainly well needed after all these years.