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 McCaskillHistory argues for Democratic Senate gains Polling analyst: Same Dems who voted for Gorsuch will vote for Kavanaugh Pollster: Kavanaugh will get Dem votes 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 WydenSunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight House passes measure blocking IRS from revoking churches' tax-exempt status over political activity Senators introduce bipartisan bill to improve IRS 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 CaseyHistory argues for Democratic Senate gains Overnight Health Care: Trump officials explore importing prescription drugs | Key ObamaCare, drug pricing regs under review | GOP looks to blunt attacks on rising premiums | Merck to lower some drug prices Dems pressure GOP to take legal action supporting pre-existing conditions 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 StabenowHistory argues for Democratic Senate gains Lobbying world The Hill's Morning Report — Trump, Putin meet under cloud of Mueller’s Russia indictments 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 BrownHistory argues for Democratic Senate gains On The Money: Trump 'ready' for tariffs on all 0B in Chinese goods | Trump digs in on Fed criticism | Lawmakers drop plans to challenge Trump ZTE deal Dems pressure GOP to take legal action supporting pre-existing conditions 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 CornynThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia Senate GOP attempts to wave Trump off second Putin summit Senators push to clear backlog in testing rape kits 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."