In Passing Tax Bill, Republican Senators Forfeit Right to Use Specific Claims

During the early morning hours, Senate Republicans passed their tax bill. Along with its passage, they have now forfeited the right to specific claims in the political and governing process. Here is a brief, but ever-growing, list of things Republican officials and candidates are no longer allowed to try and sell to the public.

  • You must read the bill before you vote on it.

They literally made it up as they went. Scribbled amendments on bill drafts and a 479-page rewrite of the tax code were given to Democrats mere hours before the final vote. When the motion was made to adjourn until Monday morning so Senators and the public had a chance to read the bill before the vote, Republicans rejected the motion. They then passed the bill 51-49.

  • Republicans are concerned about the national debt and deficit.

Multiple independent analysis showed passing this bill would add at least $1 trillion to the national debt over ten years. Economists and experts of all backgrounds declared the return being promised by Republicans would not offset reductions. They knew. They voted blindly for it anyway.

Senator John Hoeven thinks experts are only useful if they back up the claims he is making:

  • They want bipartisan solutions.

Democrats were kept out of the process. It was done on purpose. Period. They cannot lock the door on members of the other party and then whine about not having input or their votes.

  • They’re more interested in good public policy than politics.

The rush and self-imposed deadline of ramming this tax bill through by the end of the year was about politics. It was about the 2018 election. They’ve held Congress and the Presidency for almost a year and have no legislative victory to show for it. It would be a tough sell for voters to send more Republicans to Washington after they showed they cannot deliver. They needed something to run on.

Republicans also needed something symbolic to use against Democrats in 2018. This was designed so when Democrats voted against this rushed, lopsided bill, they could be attacked politically. This morning, the NDGOP already sent out a hit on Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp. She voted against the bill. The same tired talking points will be used for the next eleven months. If Tom Campbell is their candidate, he’ll likely have it written on his hand so he doesn’t forget to say it word for word.

For years, Republicans have laid claim they have the best ideas for health care and tax policy. Both times they’ve stammered their way through. Health care reform failed. It was utterly embarrassing for them. They couldn’t have a repeat failure on passing something about taxes. This morning, they’re now one-step closer.

My question, where was all of that policy genius they’ve laid claim to for those years? You’d think Republican Senators like John Hoeven would be confident and proud of their tax bill. If it was sound public policy, they would have embraced the idea of letting the public see it first. Instead, they refused. That is shameful.