Washington leaders took predictable positions on the negotiated Republican tax plan that will be voted on next week.
Republicans generally praised it, claiming it would bring relief to the middle class and strong economic growth. Democrats called it a giveaway to the rich and to corporations.
Gov. Jay Inslee said in an interview that the outcome is a precursor to cutting Medicaid and Social Security as government revenue drops. He particularly criticized the decision to end the penalty for not having health insurance, calling it a “moral outrage.” Critics say the move will force sharp increases in the cost of insurance.
“I always believed that the Republicans would blow up the deficit and they’ve done it yet again. The party that continually screams for a constitutional balanced budget amendment routinely blows up the deficit every chance they get so they can give tax cuts to the richest corporations,” Inslee said. “They’re creating at least $1.5 trillion in debt for our children. They’ve imposed it on the shoulders of children of Spokane County and I think it’s wrong and it’s unnecessary and it’s massive hypocrisy on their part.”
The final version removes some parts of the House bill that U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., argued should be nixed in a final version. Among those were a proposal to tax tuition waivers and another that critics said would have hurt financing options for affordable housing projects.
“At every step in this process, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been written to improve the lives of everyday Americans and their families by creating more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks,” McMorris Rodgers said in a prepared statement. “With this pro-economic growth and pro-family tax plan, we are significantly increasing the standard deduction, lowering rates across the board, and making it easier for everyone to file their taxes. In fact, the average family of four making $73,000 a year will receive a tax cut of more than $2,000.”
Washington Sen. Patty Murray called on Republicans to wait to vote on a new tax plan until Alabama’s new Democratic senator, Doug Jones, takes his seat.
“Republicans aren’t slowing down their partisan efforts to jam this scam of working families through Congress,” Murray said on Twitter. “Hold them accountable.”
While Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., generally praised the bill, he did not say if he would vote for it.
“With today’s release of the final tax bill, we are moving closer to reforming our tax code for the benefit of the American people,” Reichert said in a prepared statement. “As I review this bill, I will continue to hold it to the standards I have considered throughout this process. The final result must create jobs in America, increase paychecks, and put more money in the pockets of hardworking Americans. While we have made important improvements to the tax provisions of the bill for American families along the way, I am deeply disappointed the Conference Committee rejected my request to remove language that opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.”