Idaho Sen. Jim Risch spoke out in favor of the Senate GOP tax bill Tuesday at a Washington. D.C. press conference, declaring that he wants it to pass to help small businesses.
Risch, the chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, hosted the gathering that featured Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Small Business Administration leader Linda McMahon, several GOP members of Risch’s committee and representatives of business advocacy groups.
“ The aim of this entire exercise is to reduce the burden on taxpayers and create an environment that enables families and businesses, particularly small businesses, to thrive,” Risch said. “With tax reform we have a real opportunity to make changes that will have a tangible, positive effect on the American people and create an environment for our nation’s job creators to prosper.”
The Senate GOP tax bill cleared a key test Tuesday afternoon in the Senate Budget Committee, where it passed on a 12-11 party-line vote; Senate Republican leaders hope to bring it to a floor vote yet this week.
The measure would sharply cut the corporate tax rate and balloon the federal deficit by $1.4 trillion over 10 years, according to latest Congressional Budget Office estimates. Senate GOP leaders hope to pass it under reconciliation rules that would allow it to pass without support from any Senate Democrats.
“Every small business group I can think of is on board for this comprehensive tax reform that we hope to clear the Senate this week,” McConnell said at the news conference. “We’re excited about this opportunity. It’s been 30 years since the tax code was dealt with in such a comprehensive way.”
Representatives of groups including the National Federation of Independent Business and the American Trucking Association praised the bill, saying it would bring their members tax cuts, simplicity and certainty. McMahon offered a similar message.
“To a business, they have told me that if they have tax cuts, if they have certainty in the tax program, if they can get it done and part of their planning process, they will reinvest that money back into their businesses,” she said. “They’ll hire more people, they’ll raise their wages, they’ll reinvest in their businesses. That’s what they’re telling me across the country.”
Risch has long been an outspoken critic of federal deficit spending. In a September statement, he said, “Each dollar added to our debt is a dollar lost from critical investments in American roads, bridges, healthcare, schools and other essential services. This pattern of reckless, uncontrolled spending threatens the future of our country and ensures our children and grandchildren have a bleak financial future.”
But Risch didn’t mention the deficit on Tuesday, instead focusing on “positive” news about the tax bill.
“All of us have been reading and listening to some negative things about this tax bill,” he said. “Today you’ve heard from a real cross-section of who are going to work with this bill and what it will do for their businesses. Those of us in the Senate who are working on this are committed to get this bill through.”
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