WASHINGTON — Sen. Bill Nelson and Democrats are hopeful that Republican divisions over the tax package will result in failed vote later this week and insist they are ready to work on a do-over.
“If this attempt can be defeated, then the flowers of bipartisanship will start to spring up,” Nelson said during a news conference Tuesday in which more than a dozen Democrats denounced the current legislation.
“Why not test us?” said Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, suggesting a revamped bill could get plenty of Democratic support.
Nelson, in an interview, blasted the corporate tax cuts in the bill. “Why give a huge, multinational corporate tax cut, which in essence swells the defict $1.4 trillion and the same time gives little relief, if any, to the middle class?”
Some tax cuts aimed at the middle class expire after a number of years – “widow dressing,” in Nelson’s terms. He also cited a CBO report showing that over a decade, people making $75,000 or less would see a tax increaes.
Nelson said another unfairness is small businesses would pay a higher rate than the 20 percent for corporations.
“Nothing about it is fair,” Nelson said.
Asked about the child tax credit increase fellow Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is pushing, Nelson replied, “That’s just nibbling around the edges.” The current proposal calls for doubling the current credit to $2,000 but is not fully refundandable, which Rubio himself objects to.
Nelson did manage to get something in the bill, with an assist from Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who co-sponsored the amendment Citrus growers would get a deduction for new trees replacing those savaged by greening disease.
But it’s a blip — $30 million over a decade — in the overall package.
Alex Leary is the Washington bureau chief for the Tampa Bay Times. He previously worked in the Times' state capital bureau, and before that covered local politics, environmental issues and law enforcement. His career in journalism began at the Valley News in New Hampshire. Phone: (202) 306-4807