WASHINGTON (AP) — Sounding a discordant note among the positive talk on the tax bill, a number of Republicans are delivering a blunt assessment, casting the bill as a boost to big corporations and the wealthy instead of the middle class.
“Fundamentally if you look at the bulk of the bill, two-thirds of it, it’s tied on the business side,” Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., said Tuesday as leaders in the House and Senate hailed their respective measures as an advantage for working Americans.
Asked why GOP leaders label it a middle-class tax cut, Sanford said, “There is certainly a chicken in every pot, in essence. But, again, look at where the big money is. The big money is on the corporate side.”
Both the House and Senate have passed massive tax bills that would provide steep tax cuts for businesses and more modest tax breaks for families and individuals. The tax cuts in both bills add up to about $1.5 trillion over the next decade.
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Congressional estimates show that taxpayers in every income group would initially see tax cuts, with the biggest cuts going to the wealthiest Americans. However, after several years, many low- and middle-income families would see tax increases, according to the analyses by the Joint Committee on Taxation, the official scorekeeper for Congress.
“We think that all Americans should be given lower taxes, and so there’s still work to be done on tax reform,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus.
The two chambers must reconcile their respective bills, and GOP leaders are intent on delivering a final package to President Donald Trump by Christmas.
“I call it the mixer,” Trump said Tuesday. “It’s a conference where everyone gets together and they pick all the good things and get rid of the things they don’t like.”
But days and nights of tough negotiations await the House and Senate.
Even Republicans who have defended the legislation have sometimes tripped over themselves.
A top Republican senator gained attention when he defended GOP efforts to scale back the federal estate tax because it helps those who invest rather than people who spend their money on “booze or women or movies.”
“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or…