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 BradyTexas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall Trump on declaring national emergency: 'Not going to do it so fast' Dems look to chip away at Trump tax reform law 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 WydenIRS waiving penalty for some in first filing season under Trump's tax law Mobile providers at center of privacy storm Hillicon Valley: House chair seeks emergency briefing on wireless industry's data sharing | AG nominee to recuse himself from AT&T-Time Warner merger | Dem questions Treasury, IRS on shutdown cyber risks 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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiOvernight Health Care: Dem chair plans hearing on Medicare for all | Senate GOP talks drug prices with Trump health chief | PhRMA CEO hopeful Trump reverses course on controversial pricing proposal Centrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter On The Money: Shutdown Day 26 | Pelosi calls on Trump to delay State of the Union | Cites 'security concerns' | DHS chief says they can handle security | Waters lays out agenda | Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions 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 HollenSenate Dems introduce legislation to back-pay low-wage contractors Government shutdown impasse is a leveraging crisis Leaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight MORE (D-Md.) said Tuesday at an event hosted by Roll Call. 

Van Hollen added that Rep. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealDem added to Ways and Means Committee amid desire for more Hispanic members Ten Dem lawmakers added to House Ways and Means Committee Grassley requests a briefing on requesting Trump's tax returns 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 TrumpPentagon update to missile defense doctrine will explore space-base technologies, lasers to counter threats Giuliani: 'I never said there was no collusion' between the Trump campaign and Russia Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles 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."