Politics

Watch McConnell Explain Why Dems Wouldn’t Help Push Tax Reform

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell explained Friday morning why passing a bipartisan tax reform bill was nearly impossible in 2017.

“We just completed comprehensive tax reform and there is nothing more challenging than that which is why we have not done it in 31 years,” McConnell told reporters at the Capitol building Friday. “This particular effort was even more challenging because 31 years ago there was a bipartisan agreement that it was a good thing to do.”

WATCH:

The seasoned senator recalled the last tax reform bill that passed when he had just entered the Senate in the mid 1980s.

“I remember I just got here, I was a back bencher not having much influence on the process. Dick Gephardt was for it, Bill Bradley was for it, and at the end it passed by a significant majority,” McConnell said.

“Going into this year, there would have been the opportunity for it to be done on that kind of basis as well. Whatever hope I had for that faded when I got a letter from the Senate Democrats before the August recess,” McConnell said.

Some 45 Senate Democrats sent a letter to President Donald Trump, McConnell and Republican leadership in August, in which they wrote “tax reform cannot be a cover story for delivering tax cuts to the wealthiest … We will not support any tax plan that includes tax cuts for the top 1 percent.”

“It had little relationship to what we felt the country needed in order to get growing again. You have heard the arguments, so you’re probably tired of hearing them,” McConnell said.

Senators narrowly passed Republicans’ rewrite of the tax code in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, along party lines.

Senate lawmakers passed The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 51-48 Wednesday roughly 10 hours after their House colleagues kicked the measure over to the chamber. The House followed suit Wednesday morning.

The president signed the bill into law Friday morning at the White House.

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