Dems seek inclusion in House GOP tax reform retreat

Dems seek inclusion in House GOP tax reform retreat
© Greg Nash

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) is urging Republicans to allow Democrats to join their tax reform retreat on Wednesday.

"This is not a process that should be undertaken on a partisan basis," Crowley wrote in a letter late Tuesday to Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyRyan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Senate approves motion to go to tax conference Overnight Finance: GOP delays work on funding bill amid conservative demands | Senate panel approves Fed nominee Powell | Dodd-Frank rollback advances | WH disputes report Mueller subpoenaed Trump bank records MORE (R-Texas). "Comprehensive reform can only be lasting if all sides are invested in the process and the outcome."

House Republicans on Wednesday will attend a retreat at the National Defense University, where they will be briefed on the tax reform framework that congressional GOP leaders and White House officials are releasing. Vice President Pence will also attend the retreat.

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Democrats, like Republicans, are interested in providing tax relief for the middle class. But many Democrats are opposed to providing any tax benefit to the wealthy and do not want a tax bill to add to the deficit.

Crowley said he is "deeply concerned by Republicans’ go-it-alone approach to tax reform, which is occurring despite eagerness from House Democrats to engage in the process." He said that House Democratic leaders and Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee have tried unsuccessfully to be involved in debates and negotiations on the issue.

Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong responded to the letter by saying, "We're delighted that House Democrats are now interested in joining us to enact critical tax reform and we welcome their input as this bill goes through the committee and regular order."

A group of Ways and Means Committee Republicans and Democrats met with President Trump at the White House on Tuesday, and Trump expressed an interest in working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. But Democrats said they are frustrated that they have not been involved in the drafting of the tax framework.