American Prospect: The Democrats’ Response

In a Gallup poll from April, 39 percent of Americans approved of the Republican tax cuts, while 52 percent disapproved of them. “I doubt there’s ever been a tax break bill in the whole course of American history that’s been this unpopular,” says Texas Representative Lloyd Doggett, the ranking Democrat on the Tax Policy Subcommittee of Ways and Means.

Doggett has noted that rolling back one late insertion in the GOP’s bill, which reduced the tax rate on the highest-income Americans from 39.6 percent to 37 percent, would yield the same amount of funds that Trump’s budget cut from education.

Doggett also authored the first bill that would roll back a portion of the tax cuts—a portion he views as especially indefensible. Though the Republicans touted their bill as enabling corporations to bring jobs they’d offshored back to America, in fact the new tax law sets the rate for profits corporations earn abroad at about half that of the rate for the profits they earn in the United States. Doggett’s bill—the No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act—would equalize those rates, as well as compel companies based in the United States that divert their profits to tax-shelter nations such as the Cayman Islands to pay the U.S. tax rate on those profits.

“We hadn’t introduced any bills that make corrections here or there to the Republican tax bill, but this issue is so significant in terms of impact, we thought we needed to get it out there,” Doggett says. “This bill is something our candidates can talk about not just to progressives but to a broader public, including across the Midwest.”

I ask Doggett whether that means his bill will get the unified support of the Democratic caucus. “No,” he replies. “There’ll be some opposition in the caucus; we have our corporate wing, as we saw in the vote on weakening Dodd-Frank. With campaign dollars flowing from the corporate sector, there’s more reticence about raising corporate taxes than there is about raising taxes on individuals. There’ll be more members willing to take on individuals who make more than a million a year than to take on corporations.”

“The multinationals have been so successful at moving their profits across borders they’ve come to think of it as an entitlement,” Doggett adds. “They have a lot of influence in both caucuses.”

Indeed, as ATF’s Clemente points out, when Republicans first outlined their tax cuts last year, congressional Democrats were united in opposing the cuts for the wealthy, but a number were reluctant to oppose the drop in corporate tax rates. “There are 7,000 corporate lobbyists who work on taxes.” Clemente says. “They hold the Democrats back.” In the end, responding in large part to the increasingly militant liberalism of the Democratic base, every member opposed the GOP bill, but that doesn’t mean every member would support revisiting corporate tax rates should the Democrats regain congressional majorities—even if, as with Doggett’s bill, public sentiment would almost surely favor such action.

Read the full story here.

Thank you, for the encouragement and support, especially throughout these recent weeks. The low turnout does signal how much work remains to ensure Democratic victories in the General Election in November.

There are no unimportant elections and no unimportant races. From the courthouse to the statehouse to the Congress, I will be working for Democratic victories.

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