Tuesday, a large coalition of Senate Democrats sent a letter to their counterparts stating they won’t vote for legislation including any tax cuts for top income earners, or increases to the federal deficit, the Washington Examiner reports.
“Tax reform cannot be a cover story for delivering tax cuts to the wealthiest,” wrote Senate Democrats.
The letter also insisted that any tax plan move through the traditional congressional order rather than “reconciliation,” a special measure that Republicans could implement to avoid a Senate filibuster.
Senate Democrats sent this letter as members of the President’s cabinet have optimistically stated that tax reform will be ready for a vote by the end of the year.
The letter’s requests are not easily agreeable for Republicans. Nearly all of Republican plans would either lower the top income tax or eliminate the estate tax, both of which would result in some tax breaks for the rich.
Concurrently, Speaker of the House Mitch McConnell has stated before that he believes the “reconciliation” method is the surest path to tax reform.
We need to make sure that the tax code is designed to work for you – my bosses throughout SC, the citizens who pay the taxes #TaxReform
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) July 31, 2017
The White House, however, is still confident that Democrats will play ball, even if their demands are not entirely met. The President’s legislative director Marc Short recently said he hoped Democrats would vote for tax reform, especially those up for re-election in states carried by Trump in 2016.
A few notables in the latter category did not sign the letter: Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
So far, Senate Democrats have not felt much pressure to vote for Trump’s agenda. The three listed above, for example, were the only members of their party to vote “yes” to confirm Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.