When Trump and the GOP passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the bill only provided temporary tax relief for individuals—they expire or “sunset” in 2025 in compliance with Senate rules—while making the corporate tax cuts permanent.
Putting Senate rules aside for a moment, the GOP intentionally structured their so-called tax-reform bill as they did to provide political cover for their otherwise unproductive job performance. Republicans were able to claim they kept at least one promise while using the Senate rules as a crutch to pass temporary tax relief for individuals with a promise to vote later on making it permanent.
According to GOP leadership, under Senate rules the tax cuts couldn’t be made permanent in the original bill because it added so much to the deficit that it would require sixty votes to avoid a filibuster—a fact that would still apply on any future votes to make the cuts permanent.
Why would the GOP promise to vote on making tax cuts permanent when getting sixty votes is still out of the question? As I said above, they need political cover.
Knowing they face an uphill slog as November approaches, Trump, McConnell, and Ryan planned to use a second vote to make individual tax cuts permanent not because it’s the right thing for taxpayers but because it allows them to use the politics of distraction to camouflage their ineptitude and hopefully avoid the Blue Tsunami.
By holding this vote, the GOP hopes to get Democrats on record as opposing the tax cuts, making it possible for Republicans to use that as a campaign issue in some of the tighter races. This is probably what motivated Sen. Ted Cruz to introduce a plan to make the cuts permanent. Cruz’s re-election race against Democrat Beto O’Rourke is essentially tied and within the margin of error, so he needs a distraction to avoid defeat.
Interestingly, many within the GOP are now having second thoughts about another vote on tax cuts because they are taking heat for recent projections that show how their tax cuts and budget treachery will add trillions of dollars to the deficit.
But don’t be fooled. This is simply another round of the GOP’s politics of distraction. By suddenly appearing like the deficit is now an issue, Trump and Company are hoping that their faux outrage will appease conservatives concerned about out-of-control spending. We witnessed an example of this strategy recently in the failed attempt by the House to pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
Regardless of what the GOP decides on the tax cuts issue, know this . . . they’ll do only what’s best for party preservation, not what’s best for America.
Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.
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