Dems, Trump harden 2020 battle lines on Tax Day

Dems, Trump harden 2020 battle lines on Tax Day

Republicans and Democrats on Monday used Tax Day to drive home their arguments about President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE’s 2017 law, as millions more Americans are poised to soon find out whether they personally benefited from the tax overhaul.

Trump and Republicans spent the day praising their tax-code rewrite and linked it to growth in the economy and wages.


“We promised that these tax cuts would be rocket fuel for the American economy, and we were absolutely right,” Trump said at a roundtable with business owners and employees in Burnsville, Minn.

Democrats, meanwhile, argued that the law has been more beneficial for corporations than for American workers. They highlighted their own tax proposals and pressed the IRS to comply with a formal request from House Democrats for six years of Trump’s tax returns.

“On this Tax Day, big banks, big pharma and big corporations are celebrating their record windfall and soaring profits from the GOP Tax Scam for the rich,” Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal Top GOP senator warns government funding deal unlikely this week Houston will send residents checks of up to ,200 for pandemic relief MORE (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “Yet, for millions of hard-working families, Tax Day is not living up to the Republicans’ promises."

The legislation Trump signed into law in December 2017 marked the president’s biggest legislative accomplishment at the time. Much of the law’s changes took effect in 2018, meaning this year is the first time tax returns will reflect many of the new changes.

Analysts across the ideological spectrum have estimated that most taxpayers are receiving a tax cut for 2018, due to lower tax rates and a larger standard deduction. But polls show that the law lacks widespread public support, with few people saying they paid less in taxes compared to previous years.

Almost every Republican who was in Congress in 2017 voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, while every Democrat voted against it. The two sides spent much of the last year sparring over whether the law has been helpful to people.


The fight over the law was reignited Monday because April 15 is the deadline in most states for people to file their tax returns. The renewed message battle over the law also comes as the 2020 presidential election heats up.

In Trump’s visit to Minnesota, he touted various provisions of the law, such as the larger standard deduction, repeal of ObamaCare’s individual mandate and reduction in the number of estates subject to the estate tax.

“We’re getting historic tax relief,” he said.

Trump administration officials and GOP lawmakers also touted the tax law in television appearances and op-eds.

“It’s great to celebrate Tax Day for the first time when people’s taxes are going down,“ Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinPressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal Top GOP senator warns government funding deal unlikely this week Overnight Health Care: CDC panel recommends who gets vaccine first | McConnell offering new relief bill | Hahn downplays White House meeting on vaccines MORE said on Fox Business Network, adding that “there’s no question we’re seeing the impact and the benefit this has had on the economy.”

Key business groups that support the tax law highlighted how their members have used their savings from the law to invest in new equipment and hire more workers.

“We have a lot of great examples of companies that credit the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for their continued growth,” said Ashley Wilson, who leads tax legislative strategy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

While Republicans have been praising the measure, Democrats have been attacking it as a giveaway for wealthy individuals and corporations. Estimates have found that households in all income groups, on average, are getting a tax cut, but that higher-income households are getting the largest increases in their after-tax incomes.

Some of the Democrats' focus has been on how corporations have announced billions in stock buybacks since the tax law was enacted. Additionally, in some cases, Democrats are arguing that middle-class taxpayers are seeing higher taxes and lower refunds as a result of the law.

Only a small percentage of taxpayers are estimated to get a tax increase, and IRS data shows that refund amounts through April 5 are on average about the same as last year.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) launched Facebook ads in 12 House districts to attack Republican lawmakers for their votes for the law.

“Voters sent a message when they booted Republicans out of the Majority last November, and today their message is the same, ‘thanks for nothing,’” DCCC spokesperson Cole Leiter said.

Democrats are also offering proposals focused on cutting taxes for the middle class, trying to draw a contrast between themselves and Republicans on taxes.

Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Policy center calls for new lawmakers to make diverse hires Dangerously fast slaughter speeds are putting animals, people at greater risk during COVID-19 crisis MORE (D-N.J.), who is running for president, rolled out a plan on Monday to expand the earned income tax credit, which benefits low- and middle-income taxpayers. His proposal comes after Senate Democrats offered legislation last week to expand the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit.

“Creating a fairer, more just tax code begins with putting money in the pockets of Americans who are struggling to get ahead,” Booker said in a statement.

Much of the Tax Day messaging by Democrats focused on the issue of Trump’s tax returns.

Several Democratic presidential candidates have been releasing their returns over the past several days, in an effort to contrast themselves with Trump — the first president in decades not to make any of his tax returns public.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisSenate GOP's campaign arm rakes in M as Georgia runoffs heat up Biden, Harris to sit with CNN's Tapper in first post-election joint interview The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Giuliani denies discussing preemptive pardon with Trump MORE (D-Calif.) released 15 years of her tax returns on Sunday, and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation MORE (D-Minn.) recently released her 2018 tax return after previously making public filings from earlier years.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDeVos knocks free college push as 'socialist takeover of higher education' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Giuliani denies discussing preemptive pardon with Trump Manchin: Ocasio-Cortez 'more active on Twitter than anything else' MORE (I-Vt.) on Monday released 10 years of his returns, as did former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeMexican president breaks with other world leaders, refusing to acknowledge Biden win until election is finalized Mexico emerging as foreign policy challenge for Biden Beyoncé sports pro-Biden mask on Instagram MORE (D-Texas).

Democrats also pressed the Trump administration to comply with a request made by House Ways and Means Commissioner Richard NealRichard Edmund NealBiden names Janet Yellen as his Treasury nominee Overnight Health Care: Trump announces two moves aimed at lowering drug prices | Sturgis rally blamed for COVID-19 spread in Minnesota | Stanford faculty condemn Scott Atlas Trump announces two moves aimed at lowering drug prices MORE (D-Mass.) for the IRS to provide his panel with Trump’s tax returns.

Several liberal groups and Democratic lawmakers urged the administration to follow Neal’s request, in a call with reporters on Monday. Progressive groups also held a rally outside IRS headquarters in Washington, bringing with them a giant chicken that resembles Trump.

“I want to know if the president is paying his fair share,” Rep. Bill PascrellWilliam (Bill) James PascrellTalk of self-pardon for Trump heats up House Democrats urge congressional leaders to support .1B budget for IRS Press: Trump's biggest fear is — lock him up MORE (D-N.J.), a Ways and Means Committee member, told reporters.