'Morally repugnant': Bernie Sanders, top Democrats slam Trump's tax plan

Bernie sandersAlex Wong/Getty ImagesSen. Bernie Sanders in Washington.

Democrats on Wednesday slammed President Donald Trump’s tax reform plan, calling it “morally repugnant,” suggesting there would be little to no cross aisle support for the initial outline of the plan.

President Donald Trump’s plan would reduce the number of personal income tax brackets and overhaul business taxes, lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%, reduce the pass-through tax rate from almost 40% to 25%, and “streamline” business tax breaks.

Democratic leaders immediately condemned the bill, casting it as a proposed tax break that would largely benefit the wealthy by lowering the top income tax bracket from 39.5% to 35% and lowering the pass-through tax rate, something largely used by wealthy earners.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer decried the proposal in a speech on the Senate floor, saying Republicans “designed their tax plan to be cheered in country clubs and corporate board rooms.”

Schumer said the plan had seemed like it was masterminded by former Goldman Sachs employees in the administration, such as US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn. 

“Has the President read his plan? Has he been involved in creating his plan? Or is it the people around him, many of them from Wall Street who came up with this plan, and the president doesn’t even know what it does?” Schumer said. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders argued that the plan would exacerbate income inequality, singling out its proposal to repeal the estate tax, noting that the top 10% of earners pay 90% of estate taxes.

“At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, Trump’s tax plan is morally repugnant and bad economic policy,” Sanders said in a statement.

Other senators inveighed against the plan on Twitter. 

Some senators said that they opposed the current plan, but called for a bipartisan tax reform package.

“I am concerned that today’s proposal would give most of the benefits to those at the top and would take away important tax incentives for Michigan manufacturers,” Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow said in a statement. “As we work on reform in the coming months, the bottom line for me is that any reform must be bipartisan, help Michigan families and create Michigan jobs.”

And at least two Democrats appeared open to a potential plan.

Trump is set to fly with Sen. Joe Donnelly on Wednesday to a rally in the senator’s home state of Indiana, where Trump will stump for tax reform. Earlier this month, Trump appeared alongside North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp at a tax reform speech. Both senators are up for reelection later this year in states that overwhelmingly supported Trump.

Trump met with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders from the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday, though many Democrats remained sceptical the plan wouldn’t seriously benefit top income earners.

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