Egregious Process Undertaken by Republicans on Tax Bill Must be Rebuked

The procedural move to begin debate on the Republican tax bill fell along party lines yesterday afternoon. The move comes as the party solely in control of Washington D.C. tries to convince the public they know how to govern. Other attempts to convince us up to this point in the year have failed. This is their last chance to get something passed before the end of the year.

The egregious process undertaken by Republicans must be rebuked. Crafted behind closed doors in a partisan fashion, without debate in committee, and then voting to move forward without having all the information. Shameful. Ask your Senator what is in the bill and you’ll hear them stammer. Keep a running tally of how many times Senator John Hoeven tries to fit the word “jobs” into one sentence. They can’t answer your questions because they don’t know what the hell is in the bill they’re voting on. 

If the tax cut is focused on working families, why are those cuts only temporary?

Not only are Republicans uncertain of the specifics in their own tax bill, their blind faith that tax cuts will automatically lead to more revenue and reduce the federal debt is beginning to shake in some members. That argument is the very cornerstone of their entire tax reform plan. Yet, when they see nonpartisan reports saying the reforms will pile on $1.4 trillion more on the debt waning confidence should be expected.

To cover for their uncertainty, Republicans are looking at adding a “trigger” that will automatically raise taxes if what they’ve promised us for thirty years proves to not be true and the debt explodes. The specifics on whose taxes will rise and by how much isn’t disclosed. Look at which cuts are permanent and which are temporary in their current framework to get a sense of their priorities. If the tax cut is focused on working families – as they claim – why are those cuts only temporary?

Yet, other Senators want to see automatic spending cuts if the debt explodes under the Republican tax bill. Cuts to where? Social Security? Deeper cuts to Medicare and transportation? Is military spending threatened? Remember the allotments that took place in North Dakota? The across-the-board cuts from former Governor Jack Dalrymple that followed the rushed 23% cut to the oil extraction tax and low commodity prices? Republican Senators are talking about replicating that on a national level. 

It isn’t too late to bring everyone to the table. Start fresh and find consensus. Congress can still be bold in their reform with broad support. The end of the year goal is self-imposed for electoral purposes. I have no time for Republicans whining about partisanship when they crafted this bill behind closed doors, and they didn’t give all the information to Democratic members before forcing a vote on the procedure.

They are literally making this up as they go. Tax policy impacts every single one of us. As their private discussion begins to unfold publicly, more Americans have begun to oppose the bill. Why do you think they’ve been keeping the public in the dark? This isn’t about good, sound, public policy. It is about partisan wins, keeping mega-donors happy, and the political money flowing. They’re close to getting it done.

Tyler Axness