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Democrats Plan to Craft Tax Law Changes, Van Hollen Says

Don't expect a #fullrepeal effort

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen is reaching out to the Freedom Caucus on automatic spending cuts. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen is reaching out to the Freedom Caucus on automatic spending cuts. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats plan to craft a plan to rework last year’s overhaul of the tax code,  but don’t expect them to push full repeal.

That was the sense from the leader of the Democrats’ political operation, who focused on support within the caucus for rolling back provisions most beneficial to those in higher income brackets.

“We certainly support repealing the tax increases on middle class families. We also support getting rid of the tax giveaways to big corporations and the very wealthy,” Maryland Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen said Monday. “So, our views on this bill are very much in sync with where the American voters are.”

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairman was being asked about whether Democrats might find themselves in the same predicament as Republicans following the enactment of the 2010 health care law.

In the years following the health care law’s enactment, GOP candidates and lawmakers took to the campaign trail and the floors of the House and Senate to push repeal without really having settled on a replacement. When they actually had the opportunity to repeal the law with Republican majorities in both chambers and President Donald Trump in the Oval Office, they couldn’t muster the votes.

Van Hollen was speaking on a conference call organized by “Not One Penny,” a liberal advocacy group that’s organized opposition to the new tax law. The purpose of the call was to tout online polling suggesting that when presented with messaging for and against the tax law, opinions tend toward the negative.

“When American voters hear arguments made by supporters of the Trump tax bill and opponents of the Trump tax bill … voters recognize that this was a big giveaway to the big corporations in America at the expense of middle class families,” Van Hollen said. “We would certainly support repealing those portions of the bill, and we don’t have a specific plan at this point, but we will be developing one going forward.”

He also said that he expected Senate Democrats from red and blue states to largely find themselves on the same page in terms of messaging about the tax plan, which they uniformly opposed.

“What we’re seeing … is Republican Super PACS spending millions of dollars trying to persuade the American public they were wrong about this tax bill, but the underlying instincts of the American public are right on target,” Van Hollen said. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a red state or a blue state. The idea of running up the debt by $1.5 trillion and cutting Medicare and Medicaid to pay for tax cuts for big corporations and the wealthy is unpopular.”

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