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Senator Ed Markey

Senate Democrats Lay Out Key Principles For Tax Reform

Washington – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) joined Senate Democrats today to write to President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Chairman of the Finance Committee Orrin Hatch, urging Republicans to come to the table and work with Democrats in a bipartisan way on the Senate’s next critical item – tax reform. Forty-five Senate Democrats laid out their three main tenants ahead of any negotiations, and said they hope to work with the GOP to craft legislation that prioritizes working families over the wealthiest few and special interests.

The letter was also signed by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Angus King (I-Maine), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.).

A copy of their letter appears below:

Dear President Trump, Leader McConnell, and Chairman Hatch:

We are writing to express our interest in working with you on bipartisan tax reform.  We are confident that, by working together, we could modernize our tax system to increase working families’ wages, improve middle-class job growth, promote domestic investment, modernize our outdated business and international tax systems and put in place sound fiscal policy that raises the revenue needed to meet the needs of our country.

This letter highlights three key principles that we believe are prerequisites to any bipartisan tax reform effort.

First, we believe that tax reform should not increase the tax burden on the middle class.  In addition, any reform effort should not benefit the wealthiest individuals, who have already seen outsized benefits from recent economic gains while working-class wages have remained stagnant.  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed support for this principle when he stated before the Finance Committee that there would be “no absolute tax cut for the upper class.” We hope you agree. Tax reform cannot be a cover story for delivering tax cuts to the wealthiest.  We will not support any tax reform plan that includes tax cuts for the top one percent.  

Second, we believe it is crucial that tax reform legislation go through regular order and not reconciliation.  Using a fast-track process like reconciliation would undoubtedly result in outsized political influence on the process and significantly hinder lawmakers’ ability to close loopholes and end special interest favoritism that plagues our current tax system. As such, reconciliation is just a tool to jam through partisan short-term tax cuts that would result in economic uncertainty and instability and significantly increase our budget deficit. This stands in stark contrast to the regular order, transparent, and fiscally responsible process that allowed the 1986 tax reform to succeed and endure.  Only regular order allows for a bipartisan effort and successful, lasting reform.

Third, tax reform should be focused on providing a revenue base that meets the needs of our country.  Deep cuts to our corporate, individual, and other tax rates are very costly.  We will not support any effort to pass deficit-financed tax cuts, which would endanger critical programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other public investments in the future.

We look forward to working together to write tax reform legislation that provides real relief for America’s working families.

Sincerely,

Senator Dianne Feinstein

Senator Charles E. Schumer

Senator Richard J. Durbin

Senator Ron Wyden

Senator Patrick J. Leahy

Senator Patty Murray

Senator Jack Reed

Senator Bill Nelson

Senator Thomas R. Carper

Senator Debbie Stabenow

Senator Maria Cantwell

Senator Robert Menendez

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin

Senator Bernard Sanders

Senator Sherrod Brown

Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.

Senator Claire McCaskill

Senator Amy Klobuchar

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Senator Jon Tester

Senator Tom Udall

Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Senator Mark R. Warner

Senator Jeff Merkley

Senator Michael F. Bennet

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Senator Al Franken

Senator Christopher A. Coons

Senator Richard Blumenthal

Senator Brian Schatz

Senator Tammy Baldwin

Senator Christopher Murphy

Senator Mazie K. Hirono

Senator Martin Heinrich

Senator Angus S. King, Jr.

Senator Tim Kaine

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Senator Edward J. Markey

Senator Cory A. Booker

Senator Gary C. Peters

Senator Chris Van Hollen

Senator Tammy Duckworth

Senator Margaret Wood Hassan

Senator Kamala D. Harris

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto