Brady defends GOP messaging on tax cuts

Greg Nash

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said Tuesday that he still thinks House Republicans’ efforts on additional tax cuts are smart politically, after an internal Republican National Committee poll showed the 2017 tax law backfiring on the GOP.

The House is expected to vote this week on a package of bills known as “Tax Reform 2.0” that among other things would make permanent the 2017 tax law’s individual tax cuts.

The votes, which House Republicans have been discussing for several months, will come after Bloomberg last week reported on a poll commissioned by the RNC that found most voters think the 2017 law benefits corporations and wealthy individuals more than it helps middle-class families.

{mosads}Brady told reporters Tuesday that he thinks “misleading claims” about the tax law have taken hold but that voters are positive about the economy.

“Everyone feels so much more optimistic about their job prospects, about their potential for increased paychecks and certainly now we’re seeing investments come back to America rather than jobs leaving overseas,” he said.

Brady added that he’s seen polls that show “Republicans running on a conservative agenda of people keeping more of what they earn and small businesses keeping more of what they earn permanently helps them in those reelections.” He did not specify what polls he was referencing.

“I feel strongly about the permanence,” he said.

Democrats have repeatedly criticized the 2017 tax law and the new tax package as largely benefiting high earners. None of them voted for last year’s bill, and Democrats are also expected to oppose the bill to cement the individual tax cuts.

“Our candidates are finding all over America that the American people believe these tax bills are for the rich and not for them, and that’s why [Rep.] Conor Lamb [D-Pa.] won on that issue along with the healthcare issue,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said earlier on Tuesday. “It is ironic the two issues they thought were going to be big for them are proving to be big liabilities for Republicans.”

Tax think tanks have found that in the short run, all income groups get a tax cut on average from the 2017 law, but that those that will receive the biggest percent increase in their after-tax incomes are higher earners.

Some supporters of the tax law have said that Republicans could do a better job educating the public about the measure.

But Brady was positive about Republicans’ efforts to sell the law. He said he thinks that Democrats’ argument about tax cuts for the wealthy “is an easy narrative to sell” but disputed its accuracy.

“I think we’ve made the case strongly for why these are middle class tax cuts and these are small business tax cuts,” he said. “These are driving the economy and giving people hope for jobs.”

Mike Lillis contributed.

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