Republican Civil War Infecting Tax Cut Efforts

by Joan McCarter –

While popular vote loser Donald Trump keeps insisting that the “approval process for the biggest Tax Cut & Tax Reform package in the history of our country will soon begin,” the process is stumbling because of Republican infighting, whether between the White House and Congress or within Congress.

Start with conservative Republicans’ suspicions that the two top White House negotiators—Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economic adviser Gary Cohn—are actually Democrats, or at least enablers of the enemy.

Case in point: Virginia Republican Dave Brat, who said Tuesday “there better not be a curveball coming up” when asked about Cohn’s and Mnuchin’s work on tax reform. While he says the two men are currently touting conservative ideas he could rally behind, he warned them against turning to Democrats.“We don’t want our president and his administration moving all over the place away from Republican principles,” Brat added. […]

“Mnuchin did a lot of damage to himself when he went to the House Republicans and said, ‘Vote for this shitty debt ceiling deal and do it for me,'” said one conservative strategist of the meeting. “This is a guy, who for months, had lobbied for a clean debt ceiling increase and had no idea where the conference was and then suddenly switched.”

Trump’s show with “Chuck and Nancy” isn’t helping much either, and the fact that he’s having dinner with them Wednesday night is just rubbing salt into the wound that his budget and debt ceiling deal with them tore open.

Even without that fight with the White House, there’s enough division within congressional Republicans, between the House and the Senate. One point of contention is whether or not companies should immediately be able to deduct the cost of capital improvements from their taxable income. House tax writers want that, Senate Republicans say it’s going to cost too much.

The fight surfaced at a meeting between White House officials and congressional Republicans last week, several people close to the talks said. A decision is expected to be made in the coming weeks so that House lawmakers can try to pass a bill through their chamber.

Hell, Republicans don’t need to fight with one another—they can fight with themselves. Witness House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is putting aside his longstanding crusade on tackling the deficit and the debt and who had insisted that the tax cuts they came up with would be “revenue neutral,”—not increasing the debt and deficit. So much for that. Now the thing, he says, that is “more important than anything else” is “pro-growth tax reform that will get the economy growing, that will get people back to work, that will give middle-income taxpayers a tax cut, and that will put American businesses in a better competitive playing field so that we keep American businesses in America.” Doing that, particularly in light of his failure to bankrupt Medicaid through Obamacare repeal to pay for it, is not going to be revenue neutral.

While Trump promises “the biggest Tax Cut & Tax Reform package in the history of our country,” Ryan and team struggle to keep the message “tax reform.” Good luck with that, guys. The nation’s governing party unwittingly created a really fucked-up blueprint of how they would proceed with massive legislative policy with their Obamacare repeal and replacement fiasco. They seem to be following it to a “T” with tax cuts.

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos