Vulnerable Dems: Trump hasn't won them over on taxes

Vulnerable Dems: Trump hasn't won them over on taxes
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Democratic senators facing reelection next year said Wednesday that President Trump's tax pitch in a White House meeting failed to win them over.

While many Democrats have expressed interest in simplifying the tax code, they also expressed concerns that the tax framework from the White House and congressional Republicans would largely benefit the rich. Democrats also complained that they do not have enough specifics.

"The president certainly is talking a lot about just wanting to help the middle class, and he's talking a lot about wanting a bipartisan bill, but I think the best way to start to get a bipartisan bill is let the Democrats see what you're going to propose," Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMcCaskill welcomes ninth grandson in a row Dem group launches M ad buy to boost vulnerable senators Senate Dems block crackdown on sanctuary cities MORE (D-Mo.) told reporters.

"I don't ever remember a negotiation over principles," she added.

Trump met with both Democrats and Republicans on the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee as he seeks to build momentum for the GOP's tax overhaul effort.

"A lot of people are liking this very much, and I think we're going to have tremendous support," the president said. "We're going to restore America's competitive edge, rebuild America's middle class — very much aimed at the middle class — and renew the promise of the American dream."

Democrats at the meeting included Finance Committee ranking member Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care: Trump eases rules on insurance outside ObamaCare | HHS office on religious rights gets 300 complaints in a month | GOP chair eyes opioid bill vote by Memorial Day Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees MORE (D-Ore.) as well as Democrats on the panel who are up for reelection next year in states that Trump won.

"I'm sure we'll have unanimous support, I have no doubt," Trump said, to chuckles in the room.

"Right Ron? I think, right," the president added, referring to Wyden.

But Wyden and other Democrats expressed concerns that Trump's tax plan would cut taxes for rich people while increasing taxes on the middle class.

"You’re not going to reach bipartisanship by plowing forward with this con job on the middle class,” Wyden said in a statement.

Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyDems hit stock buybacks in tax law fight Dem senator warns Mueller against issuing Russia report near 2018 election Dem praises gay US Olympian who feuded with Pence MORE (D-Pa.) said he's raised two big issues: The tax plan's benefits for the wealthy rather than the middle class, and calls for cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in the budget resolution.

"I didn't get good answers to those questions," he told reporters.

Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann Stabenow10 Senate Democrats are up for reelection in Trump country At least Alzheimer’s research is bringing Washington together Senate Dems block crackdown on sanctuary cities MORE (D-Mich.) said in a statement that she told Trump "that instead of spending over $1.5 trillion on tax cuts for the wealthy, we should work together to stop tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and give middle-class families a bigger tax cut.” 

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownLawmaker interest in NAFTA intensifies amid Trump moves Dem senator shares photo praising LeBron James after Laura Ingraham attacks Trump gets recommendation for steep curbs on imported steel, risking trade war MORE (D-Ohio) said that the White House expressed interest in some of the tax bills he's proposed, but the GOP framework "didn't work that way." 

Brown also said that while Republicans said their plan doesn't benefit the wealthy, "that doesn't make it so."

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynLawmakers feel pressure on guns Kasich’s campaign website tones down gun language after Florida shooting Murphy: Trump’s support for background check bill shows gun politics ‘shifting rapidly’ MORE (R-Texas), who serves on the Finance Committee, said he hopes Democrats work with Republicans on taxes.

"Hopefully our Democratic friends realize that this could be a bipartisan effort if they will choose to participate, but so far they indicated that they are not really particularly interested," he said. "I hope that's going to change."