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Democrats launch Tax Day ad attack aimed at GOP overhaul

Effort on Facebook signals 2018 messaging on tax law is here to stay for 2020

The DCCC is attacking Texas Rep. Pete Olson in its latest round of digital ads (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
The DCCC is attacking Texas Rep. Pete Olson in its latest round of digital ads (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

To coincide with Tax Day, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is rolling out digital ads on Monday attacking 12 Republicans for the GOP tax plan that passed during the 115th Congress.

The new Facebook ads, obtained first by Roll Call, signal Democrats will continue to use the 2017 tax overhaul, which passed with only Republican votes, as a key part of their economic message heading into 2020, when the party will be trying to protect their midterm gains and expand the map by investing heavily in such places as Texas.

Democrats made the Republican tax overhaul — especially the new $10,000 cap on the federal deduction for state and local taxes — a key part of the party’s messaging in 2018, when Democrats gained a net of 40 seats in the House. That surge was fueled by gains in New Jersey, New York, Illinois and California, where residents rely more heavily on the deduction.

From the archives: Thunderous applause as House passes tax overhaul

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“This year’s tax day is just another painful reminder that many everyday working people are paying higher taxes because Republicans in Washington wrote a giant handout to their special interest backers, paid for by the rest of us,” DCCC spokesman Cole Leiter said in a statement. 

The ads target California Reps. Devin Nunes and Duncan Hunter, Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, Minnesota Rep. Jim Hagedorn, New York Reps. John Katko and Chris Collins, and Texas Reps. Michael McCaul, Chip Roy, Pete Olson, Will Hurd, Kenny Marchant and John Carter

Hagedorn, who flipped a Democratic district in southeastern Minnesota last fall, was not in Congress when the tax plan passed. But he said during the campaign he would have voted for it had he been in Congress.

An example of the static ad features a photo of an empty wallet with the text, “Thanks for nothing, Rep. Olson.”

“On Tax Day, our taxes are up, and our refunds are down — all thanks to Rep. Olson’s vote for the #GOPTaxScam,” the ad reads. 

Republicans, however, continue to tout the benefits of the tax plan. Kevin Hassett, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for President Donald Trump, praised the legislation on a press call last week, arguing that the U.S. is a more attractive place to do business and that Americans are seeing real wage growth as a result of the overhaul. 

“With the positive effects so visible, though, the story now is that it’s just a ‘sugar high.’ But if anything, these tax cuts are like a high-protein meal, which is providing sustained, long-term nourishment for our economy,” Hassett said Friday. 

Only five of the 13 House Republicans who voted against the tax overhaul in the fall of 2017 remain in Congress. Bucking their party’s leadership on its major legislative accomplishment wasn’t enough to save four Republicans who got swept up in last fall’s Democratic wave. (Three others declined to run for re-election, while one has since passed away.)