By Michael McCurry
The Republican plan for an expansive tax overhaul hit a late snag on Thursday as party leaders rushed to prevent several members from derailing the entire plan.
The debate is now expected to spill into Friday night. Two of the GOP’s shakiest voters are Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) are both retiring from the Senate and will not be up for reelection, giving GOP leaders little leverage over them. Another holdout on the current plan is that Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has exulted in challenging his party leaders, some of whom he believes left him behind during his re-election effort last year.
Across the aisle, Democrats uniformly loathe the current tax proposal.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, claimed that a new analysis of the proposals from the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxes proves that the bill itself will be not at all what the GOP claims it to be.
“This isn’t tax reform at all,” he said according to The Washington Post. “This is now just a grab bag full of goodies for multinationals and donors and special interests.”
Many Republicans believe that the bill’s cuts in taxes will open up more economic growth, potentially creating an economic boom that will create a solid investment and corporate environment. These forecasts are often controversial as it is difficult to predict how tax cuts will affect behavior and how quickly the economy can respond. “Yeah, let’s just tax poor people who have no money and decrease taxes on people with money” commented Angelica Dabao (‘19).
GOP leaders seem undeterred by the criticism. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters Thursday, “We’re certainly optimistic. As you know, we had everybody on board to take the bill up. I think everyone is trying to get to yes.”
Overall the legislation marks a massive change for the tax code. Changes like lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to around 25 to 22 will be a huge win for corporate America, while the benefits for average individuals are either mixed or nonexistent, according to multiple nonpartisan analyses. “I can’t imagine the average person being excited about this bill. Who even is the constituency for it? They’re taxing graduate students just so they can pay to get rid of the estate tax!” said Matt Gronert (‘21).
The current plan would create more than $300 billion in budget space due to the money that would be cut in Medicaid spending and various other programs; it would also have an effect on health care, causing more than 13 million people to lose health insurance over the next several years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.