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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 campaign says ‘intern’ who filmed campaign had access to voter data McConnell defends Trump-backed lawsuit against ObamaCare McCaskill calls on GOP opponent to appoint special prosecutor to look into undercover video 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 — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump says GOP will support pre-existing condition protections | McConnell defends ObamaCare lawsuit | Dems raise new questions for HHS on child separations Republicans should prepare for Nancy Pelosi to wield the gavel US to open trade talks with Japan, EU, UK 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 target small cluster of states in battle for House Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump officials move to require drug prices in TV ads | 4,000 more people lose Medicaid in Arkansas | New top official for Medicaid Election Countdown: Cruz, O'Rourke fight at pivotal point | Ryan hitting the trail for vulnerable Republicans | Poll shows Biden leading Dem 2020 field | Arizona Senate debate tonight 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 StabenowElection Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach Republican Senate candidate apologizes after swastika spotted in campaign ad Poll: Dem Stabenow has 9-point lead over Republican James in Michigan Senate race 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 BrownOn The Money: Deficit hits six-year high of 9 billion | Yellen says Trump attacks threaten Fed | Affordable housing set for spotlight in 2020 race Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Dem victories in `18 will not calm party turbulence 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 CornynFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke debate showdown Live coverage: Cruz faces O'Rourke in Texas debate showdown Trump, Feinstein feud intensifies over appeals court nominees 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."