McConnell: Dems used to back tax reform before Trump

McConnell: Dems used to back tax reform before Trump
© Camille Fine

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP moves to cut debate time for Trump nominees McConnell hits back at 'ridiculous' Chinaperson remark GOP senator: 'We were there' on immigration before talks got derailed MORE (R-Ky.) penned an op-ed calling on Democrats to join the GOP in its push for tax reform. 

McConnell argued in the piece published Tuesday by NBC News that the tax reform effort is promoting the same ideas Democrats used to support before President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer Watergate prosecutor: Trump taking the fifth would be political suicide Comey: I’m ‘embarrassed and ashamed’ by Republican party Comey, Anderson Cooper clash over whether memo release violated FBI rules MORE assumed office.

Trump and GOP leaders late last month pitched a nine-page framework as part of their tax reform efforts, with the hopes of full legislative text emerging in coming weeks. 

Democrats largely slammed the proposal, which seeks to lower the top rate and raise the bottom rate, double the standard deduction and nix many loopholes, with an exception for mortgage and charity.  They called it a giveaway to the rich.

McConnell addressed those issues in his piece.

"Let's be clear: This effort is not about cutting taxes for some fat cat," he argued. "Tax reform is our once-in-a-generation opportunity to replace an outdated tax system that holds our country back with one that actually works for you."

Taxes should be lower for Americans, McConnell said, explaining that is why the GOP is pushing to lower the tax rates, double the standard deduction and increase the child tax credit.

Other goals of tax reform include eliminating loopholes for the wealthy and making it easier for employers to keep jobs in America, McConnell said.

"These are the goals of tax reform. They have traditionally been bipartisan. Here in the Senate, the need for tax reform is loudly supported by Democrats — or at least it was, until the last election," McConnell said. "Now, Democrats are under pressure from the left to oppose just about everything President Donald Trump touches — even ideas they themselves used to promote."

McConnell said now, Democrats are scrambling to come up with excuses to "oppose a tax-reform effort that fights corporate offshoring, eliminates loopholes for the wealthy and cuts middle-class taxes."

"So Democrats are in a tough spot. We understand," he said. "But the excuses we’ve heard to oppose tax reform are just wrong."
Democrats argue that Republicans drafted their proposal in secret and note McConnell's strategy to use a fast-track measure to allow the Senate to pass a bill with a simple majority, without the need of any Democratic votes.
Still, McConnell said he hopes Democrats will work with the GOP to get tax reform passed.
"Tax reform has been a bipartisan effort before. It can — and should — be a bipartisan effort again. All it will take is for our Democratic friends to continue supporting the very ideas they supported until Trump came along," he said.

The tax framework put forward by the White House and congressional GOP leaders would also reduce the number of individual tax brackets, slash tax rates for businesses, and move the U.S. toward a "territorial" tax system that exempts American companies' foreign earnings.