Dem Senate campaign arm hits GOP lawmakers over Trump tax law

Dem Senate campaign arm hits GOP lawmakers over Trump tax law
© Greg Nash

The Democratic Senate campaign arm is launching digital ads targeting seven Senate Republicans for their votes in favor of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons' Rocket attack hits Baghdad's Green Zone amid escalating tensions: reports Buttigieg on Trump tweets: 'I don't care' MORE’s 2017 tax overhaul.

The five-figure ad campaign by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) takes particular aim at a provision in the law that raised the amount of taxes some military families pay on their survivor benefits.

The GOP targets are Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition — Trump: GOP has `clear contrast' with Dems on immigration Overnight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag Colorado secretary of state bans employees from traveling to Alabama after abortion law MORE (Maine), Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyBolton emerges as flashpoint in GOP debate on Iran Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law McSally to introduce military sexual assault reform bill MORE (Ariz.), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstBullock: Running for Senate 'never really got me excited' Dem Senate campaign arm hits GOP lawmakers over Trump tax law GOP angst grows amid Trump trade war MORE (Iowa), David Perdue (Ga.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law Frustrated GOP senators want answers from Trump on Iran Graham: Trump officials not adequately briefing on Iran threat MORE (Colo.), Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisLawmakers call for investigation after census hired registered sex offender Dem Senate campaign arm hits GOP lawmakers over Trump tax law Graham encourages Donald Trump Jr. to plead the Fifth MORE (N.C.) and John CornynJohn CornynTrump's immigration push faces Capitol Hill buzzsaw The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Restrictive state abortion laws ignite fiery 2020 debate Sinema, Gallagher fastest lawmakers in charity race MORE (Texas), all of whom are facing reelection in 2020.

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“Cory Gardner voted for a tax law that HIKED taxes on Colorado Gold Star families, forcing some military families to pay thousands of dollars more in taxes on their survivor benefits,” one Facebook ad reads. The ads were first obtained by The Hill.

The tax increase in question specifically affects military spouses who signed over survivor benefits to their children.

Before the 2017 law was passed, survivor benefits allocated to children were taxed at the parent’s rate. But due to a change in the so-called kiddie tax, which has to do with taxing the “unearned income” of children at a higher rate, such benefits can be taxed at a rate of up to 37 percent.

That some Gold Star families had seen taxes rise on their earned benefits under the 2017 law was first reported last month by Task & Purpose, a website that focuses on military news.

Republicans have said that they had initially sought to simplify the kiddie tax, and that the increase for Gold Star families had been an unintended consequence of that.

A bipartisan bill introduced earlier this month by Sen. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyOvernight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag Bipartisan senators unveil measure to end surprise medical bills Work on surprise medical bills goes into overdrive MORE (R-La.) seeks to amend the tax code so that benefits signed over to the children of fallen service members would be taxed as earned income.

Nearly three dozen senators, including Collins, Tillis and Cornyn, have co-sponsored the measure, though the other four lawmakers targeted by the DSCC ads have yet to sign onto it.

Democrats are eager to make gains in the Senate in 2020 after a tough electoral map in last year’s midterm elections, and Republicans like Gardner and Collins are among their top targets.

The DSCC's latest ad campaign suggests that Democrats are hoping to seize on the 2017 tax law, which has struggled with low popularity ratings. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released earlier this month found that just 27 percent of U.S. adults approve of the law.

"Republican senators voted to give tax handouts to wealthy CEOs and huge corporate special interests while hiking taxes on families who have lost a loved one in military service,” Stewart Boss, a spokesman for the DSCC, said.

“We’ll make sure voters don’t forget that these vulnerable GOP senators helped pass a reckless law forcing Gold Star families to pay higher taxes on survivor benefits, and that many of them are not even working to pass the bipartisan bill to clean up this mess and fix this cruel penalty.”