Dems criticize Brady's new tax package

Dems criticize Brady's new tax package
© Greg Nash

Democrats on Tuesday criticized the tax package House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyHouse leaders hope to vote Friday on coronavirus stimulus Lobbying world Lawmakers welcome Treasury move to extend tax deadlines MORE (R-Texas) released late Monday, signaling that it will be difficult for the bill to pass the Senate.

The Democrats expressed frustrations that they did not see the bill until Brady unveiled it to the press.

"Using the media as a middleman to distribute tax proposals didn't get the Republicans bipartisan support for their tax ideas in 2017, and I don't think it's going to help them now," Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate Democrats vow to keep pushing for more funds for mail-in voting Hillicon Valley: Coronavirus deal includes funds for mail-in voting | Twitter pulled into fight over virus disinformation | State AGs target price gouging | Apple to donate 10M masks Senate includes 0M for mail-in voting in coronavirus spending deal MORE (D-Ore.) told reporters Tuesday. "My take is, when the other side essentially learns about it for the first time in the press, which was last night, it is invariably messaging and gamesmanship."

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Brady's tax package, which clocks in at nearly 300 pages, addresses a number of issues, including the renewal of expired tax breaks, disaster relief, technical fixes to the 2017 GOP tax law and IRS reforms. The bill is expected to pass the House later this week.

In the Senate, the bill would need to receive votes from some Democrats, since it would need 60 votes to pass.

While some of the provisions in the package have received bipartisan support in the past, Democrats view the legislation as partisan because they didn't work specifically on the new bill before it was rolled out. Democrats' criticisms of Brady's package resemble their critique of Republicans during the process of crafting the 2017 tax law.

Henry Connelly, a spokesman for House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiAn insecure America and an assertive China The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - House to pass relief bill; Trump moves to get US back to work Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA —US now leads world in known coronavirus cases | Unemployment claims soar by over 3 million | House to vote on stimulus Friday | Ventilator shortage sets off scramble MORE (Calif.), said that “instead of respecting the verdict of the midterms and working with Democrats, House Republicans are trying to use their last days in the majority to ram through another sprawling tax bill written behind closed doors with zero scrutiny or transparency.”

Besides the process concerns, Democrats are critical of the fact that the bill includes technical corrections to the 2017 tax law. Democrats have wanted fixes to drafting errors in the tax law to be paired with more substantive changes to the measure.

"As to the overall vehicle being used as an opportunity to 'fix' some of the problems from the other tax bill, that's going to require a lot larger effort," Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenOvernight Energy: House stimulus aims to stem airline pollution | Environmental measures become sticking point in Senate talks | Progressives propose T 'green stimulus' GOP blames environmental efforts, but Democrats see public health problems with stimulus Blame game heats up as Senate motion fails MORE (D-Md.) said Tuesday at an event hosted by Roll Call. 

Van Hollen added that Rep. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealJudge puts new hold on Democrats' lawsuit seeking Trump tax returns MA lawmakers press HHS secretary on status of state's protective equipment Senators offer bill to extend tax filing deadline MORE (D-Mass.), who is expected to become Ways and Means Committee chairman in January, has said he wants to hold hearings on the 2017 tax law.

Brady told reporters Tuesday that he thinks Democrats and Republicans will ultimately find common ground and send new legislation to President TrumpDonald John TrumpDefense industrial base workers belong at home during this public health crisis Maduro pushes back on DOJ charges, calls Trump 'racist cowboy' House leaders hope to vote Friday on coronavirus stimulus MORE's desk.

"Republicans and Democrats have always worked across the aisle on disaster relief that's timely, on helping families save more and more businesses offer savings plans," he said. "On tax policies for the end of the year, we have a tradition of doing that. Why stop now."