Grassley: Trump tax law 'hasn't been any help' to Republicans

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyBurr says intelligence watchdog should be 'independent' after inspector general firing Lawmakers press IRS to get coronavirus checks to seniors Pelosi floats undoing SALT deduction cap in next coronavirus bill MORE (R-Iowa) said Wednesday that Republicans' 2017 tax-cut law championed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE hasn't been politically helpful for Republicans.

When asked if he's concerned that the tax law will be a drag on Trump as he runs for reelection, Grassley told reporters he doesn't see the law as a liability "but it definitely hasn't been any help to us."

Sunday marks the two-year anniversary of when Trump signed the GOP tax reform package into law.


The legislation cut tax rates for people across the income spectrum, but has never become overwhelmingly popular. Some polls released earlier this year found that only about one in five adults think they got a tax cut under the law, even though analysts estimate that a majority of people received a tax cut for 2018.

Grassley said he can understand why "salaried people and wage earners" possibly don't realize that they got a tax cut, if that cut took the form of slightly smaller paychecks throughout the year.

"You don't notice it, so you don't even think about it," he said.

The Finance Committee chairman's comments echo remarks he made in a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday, when he praised the tax law for delivering tax cuts to the middle class and small businesses.

"I spent 10 years on an assembly line in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and probably if I got a 50-cent tax cut every week, I wouldn't know at the end of the year that that added up to $250 more in my pocket," he said. "So under the circumstances of the working men and women of America, it might be difficult to know that. But studies show the great benefit to the middle class families of this tax cut. So thanks to these historic tax cuts and reforms, Americans do in fact have more money in their paychecks and their pocketbooks."


Grassley was also asked Wednesday about analyses that have found that wealthy people have received a larger benefit from the reforms than others.

The senator said that such data could be liability unless Republicans can make clear that the highest earners are "actually going to be paying a larger share of the income tax coming into the country."

The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), Congress's tax scorekeeper, estimated in December 2017 that, in calendar year 2019, those making at least $1 million will pay 19.8 percent of federal taxes, compared to 19.3 percent if the tax law wasn't passed. But the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, estimated last year that for 2018, taxpayers with income between about $308,000 and $733,000 would see the biggest tax cut as a share of their after-tax incomes.

Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyMnuchin says Social Security recipients will automatically get coronavirus checks Pelosi not invited by Trump to White House coronavirus relief bill's signing Democrat refuses to yield House floor, underscoring tensions on coronavirus vote MORE (Texas), the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, said he thinks that the GOP tax law will work in Trump's favor, and that it serves as a good contrast between Trump and Democratic presidential candidates who lay awake "at night thinking of new taxes to impose on the American public."