Senate Democrats Outline “Prerequisites” for Bipartisan Tax Reform

In a letter addressed to President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT), 45 Senate Democrats (collectively, the “Democrats”) expressed a willingness to work with Republicans on “bipartisan tax reform.”

The Democrats asserted three “prerequisites” for a successful bipartisan tax reform plan. First, a reform plan “should not increase the tax burden on the middle class,” and should not be advantageous for the wealthiest subset of Americans. The Democrats observed that wealthy Americans continue to enjoy “outsized benefits from recent economic gains” even though wages for working-class individuals have not increased. The Democrats vowed they would not back a tax reform plan that “includes tax cuts for the top one percent.”

Second, any tax reform legislation must “go through regular order rather than reconciliation.” The Democrats criticized the potential effects of fast-tracking legislation through reconciliation:

“Using a fast-track process like reconciliation would undoubtedly result in outsized political influence on the process and significantly hinder lawmakers’ ability to close loopholes and end special interest favoritism that plagues our current tax system. As such, reconciliation is just a tool to jam through partisan short-term tax cuts that would result in economic uncertainty and instability and significantly increase our budget deficit.”

Third, reform legislation should not include deficit-financed tax cuts. The Democrats stated that they would not support deficit-financed tax cuts that could jeopardize the continuation of “critical programs,” including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

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