By a 12-11 vote along the party-line, the Senate Budget Committee voted to advance the Senate tax bill this afternoon. Senator Murray was a key figure voicing passionate opposition to the committee. The following are excerpts from her remarks during the committee hearing today.
“I have sat next to so many Republicans over the years who have told me—with straight faces—that they care passionately about the deficit and debt, who have sat here in this room and gone to the Senate floor with charts and graphs and big arrows pointing to the sky, talking about how much the deficit will increase under Democratic proposals to invest in the middle class. Presenting this as not just a budget issue—but a moral issue. It’s about our children and grandchildren, they said. It’s about the future of our country—they insisted. Well—where are all those so-called deficit hawks now? Where are those charts and graphs? I would like to see them today. Where is the moral outrage? Where is the concern for our children, grandchildren, and the fiscal health of our nation? When Democrats wanted to increase investments in education, health care, and middle-class tax cuts, deficit hawks were front and center, leading the opposition. But now that Republican leaders are trying to jam through this massive tax cut for the rich, which every analysis has shown would blast a historic hole in our deficit. Well, the silence, so far, is deafening.”
“This is an issue that should be bipartisan. There is absolutely no reason that Republicans leaders had to try to jam this partisan bill through. There is no reason this had to be such a massive giveaway to the rich. There is no reason—absolutely no reason—that this has to include a health care provision that would lead to 13 million more people without insurance, showing up in emergency rooms, and increasing premiums for everyone else. There is no reason for this—because Democrats have made it very clear: if Republicans want to work with us to cut taxes for the middle class—we are ready to get to work! If they want to work with us to actually deliver on the promises President Trump made on the campaign trail to put workers and the middle class first, which he has spent every day breaking, we will be there. And it’s not too late.”
“This is a bad bill. Not if you’re a millionaire or a billionaire—then it’s fantastic. But for workers, patients, the middle class, and those who go to work every day trying to join the middle class—it’s awful. If you truly care about the deficit and debt—it’s a disaster. And there are Republicans on this Committee who have the power to stand up, do the right thing, and get to work in a bipartisan way on a bill they can truly be proud of. I know it won’t be easy for them to buck the leadership of their party who have already made a terrible mistake by going down this path. But I am hopeful it happens. And I am ready to get to work with them if it does.”
A full vote by the Senate is expected as early as this Thursday, depending on whether details can be fully settled and if Sen. McConnell thinks he has the votes.