Neal assails Republicans' tax plan as 'terrible policy'

BOSTON — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal on Thursday issued a statement assailing the House tax bill as "terrible policy" spawned by a "rushed, partisan and secret process."
In the statement, he said: "This bill falls short of reform, falls short of middle-class tax relief and falls short of the fiscal principles to which Republicans have long held themselves."
House Republicans on Thursday unveiled a tax cut plan that would slash the corporate rate and lower the personal taxes of most Americans but also limit a cherished deduction for homeowners, as President Donald Trump and the GOP seek to deliver on the first tax revamp in three decades.
The proposal would add $1.5 trillion to the nation's debt over the next decade as Republicans largely abandoned fiscal discipline in a plan that could secure a legislative achievement for Trump and score a political win ahead of next year's midterm elections.
Trump promised in a statement that his administration "will work tirelessly to make good on our promise to the working people who built our nation and deliver historic tax cuts and reforms — the rocket fuel our economy needs to soar higher than ever before."
Neal, whose district includes the Berkshires, is the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, and will be the Democrats' point person as the GOP tax plan wends its way through Congress.
He said the plan was a thinly veiled effort to benefit the rich.
"Months of secret negotiations have produced a plan that tilts the tax code farther from the middle-class and more towards the well-off and well-connected," Neal wrote. "Their plan slashes taxes for big corporations and those at the top by gutting important deductions and tax incentives that every middle-class family in America relies on."
"Republicans have raided the very deductions and credits that help millions of families afford everything from groceries to medical expenses to a college education, just to give more those who don't need it and haven't asked for it," Neal wrote in the statement. "For generations, the American dream was built on the promise that if you worked hard and played by the rules you could buy a home, raise a family and save for a secure retirement. Republicans have rolled out a bill today that makes homeownership more expensive, education more costly and needed medical care unaffordable."
Earlier in the day, Neal invoked President Ronald Reagan, a Republican icon, to ask Brady to give Democrats more time to read the bill that "will fundamentally reorganize 100 percent of the United States economy."
"You and your fellow Ways and Means Republicans often invoke President Reagan's memory when you discuss fundamental tax reform. I would encourage you to look to the leadership example he and his Democratic colleagues in Congress set during the 1986 tax reform debate," Neal wrote in a letter to Brady, referencing the 30 hearings of the full Ways and Means Committee, the 12 Ways and Means Committee subcommittee hearings, the 450 witnesses who testified on the 1986 plan and the 26 days of committee markup that went into the 1986 tax law's drafting.
Brady has said that he wants to start markup of his tax bill as soon as Monday. But he pushed back the rollout of the bill because Republicans had not been able to settle on certain provisions of the plan in time, according to reports.
After the release, Neal said he and his colleagues would "work in the coming weeks to expose the true cost this bill will have on middle-class families, small businesses and innovators."
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


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