Our fight for pro-growth, fair, and transparent tax reform

All of us agree that our tax code should be simplified. There’s a lot of junk that has found its way into the tax code because powerful special interests were able to hire high-priced lobbyists to pad their own pocketbooks. We should eliminate the special interest breaks that allow a few to pay less so the rest pay more. But if Congress is serious about simplifying our tax code, we need a transparent process with bipartisan hearings, expert testimony, and rigorous debate. I was really hoping that Congress would heed the advice of Senator John McCain and return to regular order. But today we are seeing more of the same from President Trump and Republicans on tax reform — a plan drafted in secret that would give more breaks to the very wealthy and special interests at the expense of everyone else.

President Trump’s windfall tax giveaway to the uber rich will explode the national debt by trillions. Apparently, Congressional Republicans, who have spent years lecturing about the dangers of debt, are now happy to finance tax cuts for the rich by putting them on the national credit card. Of course, as the debt increases, they will find religion again and demand deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare. They will heap new debt on our kids while cutting our investment in their education.

We’ve seen this “trickle-down economics” movie before. In the early 2000s, Republicans cut taxes for the wealthy and claimed that it would result in a growing economy with prosperity for all. In reality, the only things that went up were the incomes of the already well-off and the national debt. The GOP tide raised only the yachts while all the other boats run aground.

Earlier this year, I joined my Democratic colleagues in laying out clear principles for tax reform that will actually help working Americans. First, no tax plan should increase the tax burden on the middle class, and there should be no tax cut for the top one percent. Second, tax reform should not increase the federal debt, which is already too high. Third, tax reform should go through the normal legislative process so both Democrats and Republicans have an opportunity to craft a bipartisan package. Unfortunately, the Trump-GOP proposal fails that basic test. And like the Trumpcare plan, people in Maryland and across the country won’t be shy about speaking out against a proposal that hurts their families. I stand with them in this fight.

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