Schumer, Pelosi Predict Tax Bill Boost for Democrats in Midterms

Schumer: ‘This tax bill will be at the center of our efforts’

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. hold a press conference on tax reform outside of the House Ways and Means hearing room in the Longworth House Office Building on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. hold a press conference on tax reform outside of the House Ways and Means hearing room in the Longworth House Office Building on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted November 13, 2017 at 3:07pm

Congressional Democratic leaders believe Republican proposals to overhaul the tax code are so bad that they’re giving Democrats another powerful messaging tool headed into the 2018 midterm elections. 

“This tax bill will be at the center of our efforts to take back the House and the Senate in 2018,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said alongside House Minority Nancy Pelosi at a press conference Monday at the Democratic National Committee. 

“Taxes combined with health care will be a powerful one-two punch for Democrats on the campaign trail,” he said. 

Scores of Democratic incumbents and candidates held events across the country over the weekend to call attention to the flaws of the tax bill, focusing on the importance of provisions that Republicans have proposed repealing or curbing, such as the state and local tax deduction and the medical expense deduction, Pelosi said. 

Schumer: GOP Tax Bill is ‘Political Insanity’

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“It is an assault on middle-income families across the country,” the California Democrat said. 

Schumer cited a Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that said 19 million middle-class households would pay more in taxes under the Senate bill, calling the measure “political insanity, plain and simple.”

Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee charged that the GOP tax overhaul plan would lead to a tax increase on 13.8 million households earning under $200,000 in 2019, rising as high as 21.4 million by 2022, based on data released by the Joint Committee on Taxation. Low to middle-income households are still generally less likely to see tax increases than the ultra-rich, according to the JCT data, although tax filers with between $100,000 to $200,000 in annual income are more likely than millionaires to see a tax increase in the years examined.

Grassroots mobilization against the bill is just getting started and “reaching a very high level,” the Schumer said.

Pelosi predicted that will only grow with President Donald Trump pushing for the 2010 health care law’s individual mandate to be repealed as part of the tax bill. 

“When you get anywhere near health issues, you activate, you explode the activism,” she said. 

House Republicans leaders have scheduled their bill for a floor vote this week and Schumer said he’s been counting from afar and they don’t have 218 commitments yet. Pelosi said GOP leaders are asking their members to “walk the plank” for a bill that will never become law. 

“Republicans think this tax reform bill is the cure for what ails them. We think it’s more like a nail in their coffin,” Schumer said. 

“You can sort of smell when a wave is beginning. … And that smell that was in the air in 2005 is in the air now,” he added.