WASHINGTON — Republicans in the House and Senate defended their tax reform bills Wednesday despite last-minute criticisms of the bill coming from members of their own party 24 hours before voting on the legislation.
“We provide tax relief at every income level. Not only that, for the first time we’re providing relief for those small businesses along Main Street. They aren’t corporations; they’re small businesses,” House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady told The Daily Caller. “And they’re the backbone of most of our communities, and so I’m really confident we’re providing relief in a big way for everyone.”
New York Republican Rep. Peter King, along with four other New Yorkers in the conference, say they will not vote for the House tax bill.
“We could end up losing all the members in the Northeast,” King told reporters Wednesday. New York Republicans not supporting the tax reform point to the bill’s inclusion of rolling back state and local tax deductions often used by residents in the highest taxed states.
“Everybody can be in a tough race,” King said. “And you get into a tough race and something is beyond your control and something is unanticipated — this I basically an unforced error.”
New York Republican Rep. Tom Reed, though, explained that as a member of the delegation from Western New York, he can support the bill unlike his colleagues whose districts are closer to New York City.
“I will tell you, I do recognize when you have a district like ours in Upstate-Western New York, which is rather rural, rather poorer in nature, the members closer to the city — downstate and in New York — it’s been a historical difference between Upstate and Downstate.”
Reed added, So I would say anyone closer to Downstate may be in a different position other than us in our area like myself that are supportive of the bill.”
Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert wished the bill would go farther with across-the-board tax cuts as opposed to what looks to be targeted tax cuts for the middle class and corporations.
“These are targeted tax cuts because, apparently, we don’t have enough people willing to do the right thing and just say let’s go to a flat tax and you make more, you pay more. You make less, you’d pay less, and not [enough members are] willing to go for that.”
Gohmert continued, “But if we can do good for a majority of the country, even though we’re leaving the tax rates where they are for the wealthiest — they’re not getting their rates lowered at all — but I’ll still end up having to vote for it because it does too much good for too many.”
The Republican bill in the upper chamber already lost one member from the conference, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson.
“C-Corps get 82 percent of the tax relief in the Senate bill even though they’re only 4 percent of the businesses. I don’t know what exactly what percent income but it’s probably around 50 percent. So you have small businesses which are around 50 percent of income getting 17 percent of the tax relief which is simply unfair,” Johnson said.