Leahy And Sanders Work To Defeat Republican Tax Bill

Dec 13, 2017

Vermont's two U.S. senators, Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, are hoping to persuade several Republican senators to vote against the GOP tax bill, but they admit it will be an uphill battle.

They argue that the plan is a giveaway to the wealthy and that a majority of Americans don't support it.

A House Senate conference committee has reached an agreement on a compromise plan. It lowers the corporate rate from 35 to 21 percent and it reduces the number of tax brackets for individuals.

In order to defeat the bill, the Democrats need three Republicans to vote against it and Sanders is trying to find them.

"As a member of the conference committee on the tax bill I'm going to do everything I can to defeat it,” said Sanders. “There is now one Republican, Bob Corker, who will vote against it and we need two more and we're going to work hard to find those two." 

Sanders believes it's possible one or two more GOP senators might oppose the bill because recent polls indicate that a majority of Americans don't support it.

"The idea that we are giving hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the very richest people in this country makes sense to almost nobody." — Sen. Bernie Sanders

"We have a moment in American history where we have unprecedented levels of income and wealth inequality the idea that we are giving hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the very richest people in this country makes sense to almost nobody,” said Sanders.  

Sanders also believes passage of the bill would virtually assure that a number of key social programs will have to be cut.

"After the Republicans run up a deficit of $1.4 trillion they're going to come back and try to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other important programs,” said Sanders. “So I think we have the public on our side we've got to win over a few more Republicans now."   

Sen. Patrick Leahy says he's not sure Democrats can find two additional Republican senators to oppose the bill, but says Vermonters will be hurt by the plan.

"I don't see where the average small business in Vermont or the average wage earner in Vermont is going to do well and if this is a bill that requires slashes in Medicare and Medicaid there are a lot of Vermonters are going to be hurt." — Sen. Patrick Leahy

"I don't see where the average small business in Vermont or the average wage earner in Vermont is going to do well and if this is a bill that requires slashes in Medicare and Medicaid there are a lot of Vermonters are going to be hurt," said Leahy.

Backers of the $1.4 trillion plan says it will be paid for by stimulating the national economy. Leahy isn't buying it.

"We've heard that before it never worked,” said Leahy. “When President Reagan, a very popular president, did that he ended up tripling the national debt and also creating a real recession."

Republican leaders hope to bring the bill to the floor for a vote early next week.