Democrats wasted no time on Wednesday hammering President Trump’s proposed tax reform, saying the plan is merely designed to benefit the wealthy at the sacrifice of everyone else.
“Instead of offering the American people a plan for real, job-creating tax reform, President Trump is pushing a billionaires-first, trickle-down tax scheme that hands out massive tax cuts to the wealthiest, at the expense of American families,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“If Republicans have their way, they will blow a huge hole in the deficit, gut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Affordable Care Act — all just to fund deficit-busting tax breaks for the high-end.”
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), a senior member of the Ways and Mean Committee, piled on.
“Trickle-down economics didn’t work in 2001 and 2003 and it won’t work now,” he said. “I will not support any tax plan that only aids the top earners and corporations at the expense of the middle class.”
Pascrell also floated the possibility that Trump’s global business empire might benefit from his tax plan, though no one can know “until the President releases his tax returns” — a step Trump has refused to take.
The sharp criticism from Democrats is an early indication that, despite Trump’s entreaties for support from both parties, his version of tax reform remains highly partisan — and faces a tough road through an exceedingly polarized Congress.
Speaking to a friendly crowd in Springfield, Mo., Trump laid out a broad outline for a tax-code overhaul he said would encourage domestic manufacturing, create American jobs and lower the tax burden on businesses and employees alike.
Including almost no specifics, Trump said his plan aims to simplify a convoluted tax code, lower rates on both corporations and workers, close special-interest loopholes and encourage the repatriation of trillions of dollars back into the U.S. economy.
Invoking the populist language that fueled his campaign, Trump said America’s working class would be the ultimate beneficiary.
“We’re here today to launch our plans to bring back Main Street by reducing the crushing tax burden on our companies and on our workers,” he said at the Loren Cook Company, a commercial fan manufacturer.
Tax reform is a top priority for Trump this year, and the president characterized the current political environment as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to accomplish the tax-code overhaul that’s eluded Washington for than three decades.
Frustrated with the Republicans’ failure to get an ObamaCare repeal bill to his desk, Trump applied a bit of additional pressure ahead of the tax debate.
“I am fully committed to working with Congress to get this job done,” he said. “And I don’t want to be disappointed by Congress. Do you understand me?”
Republicans quickly embraced Trump’s pitch, vowing to work with the president to get a tax rewrite to his desk.
“Right now, our tax code is burdensome, incomprehensible and puts American businesses at a severe disadvantage on the world stage,” said Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). “We are united in our determination to get this done.”
Republicans are hoping to pass a 2018 budget resolution that includes special procedural language allowing GOP leaders to move a tax-reform bill through the Senate with just a simple majority — a move that would erase the Democrats’ filibuster powers.
The strategy is no guarantee of success, however, as similar reconciliation instructions have governed the Republicans’ efforts to repeal ObamaCare, to no avail. And the Democrats have shown no willingness to support a tax overhaul they deem to benefit the wealthy disproportionately.
“For tax reform to be permanent it must be bipartisan, and to be serious it must abandon the tired myth that tax cuts pay for themselves,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the minority whip.
“What we heard today, however, was little than the same old supply side hocus pocus.”