Politics

Dem Senator Thinks Debating Tax Reform Is A Good Idea … Walks It Back A Day Later

REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio thought it was a good thing to debate his Republican midterm challenger over the 2017 GOP tax cuts, but walked it back a day later.

Brown told The New York Times July 27 that Republicans “should be ashamed of their tax bill” and said he was willing to devote an entire debate with his challenger, GOP Rep. James B. Renacci of Ohio, to the tax reform bill. Brown, notably, voted against the bill. (RELATED: Senate Republicans Pass Major Tax Reform Bill)

The senator’s re-elect campaign issued a statement Saturday evening that claimed the two campaigns had agreed to three debates before voters head to the ballot box in November. Renacci’s campaign disputes Brown’s announcement, confirming they are interested in participating in debates but that they are still negotiating the times and dates. (RELATED: GOP Tax Reform Will Bring $2 Trillion Back To The U.S.)

The Renacci campaign is also holding Brown to his commitment to debate tax reform, publicly calling for one of the debates to solely focus on that issue. Leslie Shedd, Renacci’s senior communications person, tweeted about the campaign’s hangups.

“Without talking to us, the Brown campaign said we had finalized our debate negotiations — which once again, we have not. Clearly they did this because Sherrod Brown went rogue and agreed to a debate on taxes that their campaign knows he can’t win. So they are scrambling and making things up to try and cover for their boss,” Shedd told The Columbus Dispatch.

Brown campaign spokesman Preston Maddock would not tell The Dispatch if a debate focused on taxes would take place, instead saying negotiations are still in the works.

Ohio is one of the states that appears to be benefitting the most from the 2017 tax cuts. Multiple Fortune 500 companies and small-to-medium size businesses have raised wages and shelled out $1,000-plus bonuses to employees and increased investment in the state following the tax bill becoming law.

While wages and benefits appear to be increasing, voters in Ohio and across America split as to whether or not they favor the tax bill. A June New York Times and Survey Monkey poll found that 48 percent of voters favor the bill, while 47 percent are against it.

The Brown campaign says negotiations will continue, but has yet to make good on Brown’s promise last week.

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