GOP Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said Wednesday that despite possible common ground on tax reform for both parties, it will be difficult for Republicans to work with Democrats due to their unrealistic demands and unwillingness to come to the table.
Toomey recently attended a bipartisan dinner at the White House to discuss the legislative agenda, specifically how and when Congress will move on tax reform.
“It’s a little hard to have a constructive conversation with the 45 Democratic senators who signed a letter basically declaring their lack of interest in working with us,” Toomey said on MSNBC. “If you look at the conditions that they stipulate for working with us on a tax bill, it’s pretty clear they’re not interested in working with us. While the three Democratic senators at the dinner last night did not sign that letter, and I think that’s a clear indication that they’re still open minded about this.”
Toomey said the corporate tax rate was too high, even by Democratic standards, and sees it as a possible starting point for both sides.
“I think many Democrats, certainly not all, but there’s many Democrats who acknowledge that a 35 percent corporate tax rate is ridiculous,” he said. “So that needs to come down and I think there is an agreement about that.”
He also said the idea of making sure bigger corporations don’t evade taxes and “pay their fair share,” may draw Democrats out and help speed up negotiations.
“How do me make sure companies that are paying little or no taxes actually pay their fair share like everyone else? That’s an area where I think we can find common ground as well,” he said.
Toomey said President Donald Trump “stressed” the tax package should be geared towards the middle class and not be a tax cut for the rich.
“The president stressed that he wants this to be a middle class tax cut. There was a discussion about fixing the international piece that leaves so much money from American business overseas subsides, stuck overseas instead of being invested in the United States … the president is all in on this,” he said.
Toomey also offered some specifics on things like rate reductions, but said conservatives may not be able to lower the rates as much as they would like, if they hope to get a deal passed.
“On the individual side, simplification. Rate reduction. Look we’re probably not going to bring down the top rates as much as I would like to. That’s probably fine with my Democratic colleagues. It’s something I’m going to continue to work on because I think it matters for creating incentives for work, and savings and investment. But look, that’s an area where there’s going to be a compromise as well.”
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