Trump, top House Republican admit there’s no chance of a middle class tax cut this year

(CNN)President Donald Trump and the top Republican tax-writer in Congress, House and Ways Means Chair Kevin Brady of Texas, conceded on Wednesday there was zero chance that middle-class Americans will see their taxes cut this year.

It was the first time the White House had returned to a last-ditch campaign promise since the President made the pledge at a rally in Nevada almost two weeks ago. The statement effectively closed the door on any chance of pushing through a tax cut this year.
Even as Trump has crisscrossed the country this week stumping for GOP members in the run-up to next Tuesday’s midterm elections, he has been noticeably mute on the issue.
“We are committed to delivering an additional 10% tax cut to middle-class workers across the country,” the two men said in a joint statement released by the White House. “And we intend to take swift action on this legislation at the start of the 116th Congress.”
The joint statement appeared to rule out any chance that legislation could be taken up during the lame duck session when lawmakers return to Washington after the elections.
Two weeks before voters headed to the polls, the President promised middle-class Americans another tax cut, saying it would be introduced by Congress in a week or two.
Trump said at the time that his administration had been working with Brady on a plan “very hard for a pretty long period of time.”
But in recent days that promise appeared to fade as even Brady tried to provide some political cover for the President’s tax proposal, stressing it would be a top priority for the next Congress only if Republicans are able to maintain their leadership in both chambers.
“We expect to advance this in the new session if Republicans maintain control of the House and Senate,” Brady said during an interview with CNBC last Friday.
Forecasters are predicting that Democrats will win the House, potentially setting up a split Congress, making any tax proposal a heavy lift for GOP lawmakers.
The President’s tax promise had sent Washington into a frenzy as reporters, politicians and analysts alike tried to figure out what he was talking about, leaving many to surmise there was no plan in sight and zero chance Congress could pass a bill in time.
“There is no plan,” said Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center. “There was never a plan.”
Even so, Trump’s new promise has sparked rumors in Washington over a number of strategies Republicans could employ to fulfill the President’s pledge depending on next Tuesday’s outcome, with each presenting their own set of tricky hurdles.
“We’re not done yet,” the two men said in the statement. “America’s workers deserve to keep more of what they earn.”
The Trump administration and GOP party leaders have been in active conversations for months about other tax measures that could be undertaken in coming years. In September, the House voted to make individual tax cuts, which are set to expire in 2025, permanent. And there are a host of other tax issues Republicans would like to get to, include retirement savings and education tax benefits.
“If there is a Republican Congress and a Republican president, there will be a tax cut every single year,” said Grover Norquist, president of the Americans for Tax Reform.
Brady, who speaks regularly with Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, had previously suggested Congress could follow through on the President’s pledge using a symbolic gesture, formerly known as a nonbinding resolution, offering Republicans’ commitment to another middle-class tax cut.

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The Ford-Kavanaugh Hearings Were a Case Study in GOP Misogyny

Meet the new, sensitive GOP. Photo: Tom Williams/AFP/Getty Images

Most weeks, New York Magazine writer-at-large Frank Rich speaks with contributor Alex Carp about the biggest stories in politics and culture. Today, the Senate testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh.

Going into the Brett Kavanaugh hearing, critics questioned the choice of Republicans to cede many of their questions to Rachel Mitchell, a veteran sex crimes prosecutor. Was the hearing fair?

The hearing was a travesty, at once tragic, corrupt, and hateful.

The decision of the 11 Republican men on the committee to delegate their questioning to a prosecutor Mitch McConnell called a “female assistant” wasn’t even the most outrageous aspect of the proceedings. It says much about the hearing as a whole that while Mitchell did the men’s dirty work — failing to pursue any evidence that might corroborate Christine Blasey Ford’s narrative (e.g., a conspicuous entry in Kavanaugh’s Summer of ’82 calendar) — she too was in the end was belittled for the failing of being a woman. Banished to her seat at the children’s table soon after Kavanaugh started to testify, she sat in humiliated silence while Lindsey Graham and his bros took over the questioning to beat up on Ford in absentia once her testimony had ended.

The ways in which this shitshow was not fair are many. A fair hearing would have called witnesses, and not just Mark Judge, to testify under oath about the incidents ostensibly being adjudicated, so that their unvetted public statements could be subject to cross-examination. A fair hearing would not have subjected a sexual-assault victim to a sex-crimes prosecutor while shielding the accused from equal scrutiny. A fair hearing would not have allowed men, from the doddering, filibustering chairman Chuck Grassley to Kavanaugh himself, to interrupt, condescend to, and talk over the questioners, particularly women on the committee. A fair hearing might also have been abetted by a coordinated line of inquiry from the Democrats, who often repeated each other’s questions (netting the identical answers) instead of collaborating on a comprehensive strategy that would advance the unraveling of Kavanaugh’s dishonest defense. Indeed, the Democratic men would have been well advised — as some had suggested — to turn over most of the questioning to Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris, experienced prosecutors who in their allotted five minutes each drew blood and forced Kavanaugh to bare his teeth in contempt of their gender. But alas, Democratic men will also be men. Each needed his moment center stage. So instances of Kavanaugh’s lying, including those not directly related to Ford’s testimony, both in real time and in the past, went largely unmentioned and unaddressed. The Democrats also failed to debunk Kavanaugh’s repeated misrepresentation that Ford’s friend Leland Keyser had rebutted her account of what happened that summer night in 1982.

Continue reading “The Ford-Kavanaugh Hearings Were a Case Study in GOP Misogyny”

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Under the Fog of Kavanaugh, House Passes $3.8 Trillion More in Tax Cuts

Mitch McConnell: Senate Will ‘Plow Right Through’ Kavanaugh Confirmation
Kavanaugh is accused of sexual misconduct.
By Glenn FleishmanSeptember 28, 2018
With attention fixed on the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a new $3.1 trillion tax cut on Friday. The vote was 220 to 191, including three Democrats.  The down-to-the-wire 2017 tax act passed in late December contained a mix of permanent and temporary changes that had to result in a net increased cost that fell within a structural limit of $1.5 trillion that allowed the Senate to approve the bill with a simple majority.

The House’s new bill takes effect starting in 2025, and would add $600 billion to the national debt within the next decade, and then $3.2 trillion in the 10 years after that, according to Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center.

Despite the House vote, it is unlikely the Senate will take up the legislation. The first round of tax cuts landed with a thud, with even a leaked Republican National Committee poll—reported on by Bloomberg News—showing American voters thought it benefited “large corporations and rich Americans” by an overall 2-to-1 margin and the same margin among independent voters.

Without special rules in place, the Senate would vote under normal procedures, which can require 60 senators’ votes to pass a bill that is heavily opposed.

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