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Vermont's Congressional Delegation Says New GOP Tax Bill Is A Giveway To The Rich

Rep. Peter Welch wants House Republican leaders to hold a vote on several gun control proposals
AP/Toby Talbot
Vermont's congressional delegation, including Rep. Peter Welch, center, at a July news conference in Montpelier.
All three members of Vermont's Congressional delegation strongly oppose a new GOP tax plan

All three members of Vermont's Congressional delegation say a new Republican tax plan in Washington will provide wealthy Americans with a huge tax cut while raising taxes on some middle income people.

House Republican leaders say the goal of their new plan is to simplify the country's tax code.

It lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and it reduces the number of tax brackets for individuals from seven to four.

It doubles the standard deduction for individuals and families but it caps deductions for local and state taxes. It also repeals the estate tax in six years.

Sen. Patrick Leahy says the plan was put together behind closed doors and won't be subject to close examination.

"They want to ram it through with no hearings, no chance for meaningful debate,” said Leahy. “I mean, that's a prescription for disaster."  

And Leahy says he strongly opposes the basic framework of this legislation.

"Don't do these kinds of things, ask the average middle class wage earner, taxpayer to pay for something that's going to benefit the wealthiest among us,” said Leahy. “That's not the American way."

"Don't do these kinds of things, ask the average middle class wage earner, taxpayer to pay for something that's going to benefit the wealthiest among us, that's not the American way." — Sen. Patrick Leahy

Rep. Peter Welch says the plan will increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion dollars.

"So we're putting it on the credit card,” said Welch. “Then with that trillion and a half dollars we're giving 80 percent of that money to the top 1 percent earners in the country and that's basically people making a million dollars a year."  

Welch says the impact of the bill on Vermonters will be mixed.

"Some will get a few bucks, others are going to pay more," said Welch. 

In a written statement, Sen. Bernie Sanders said he opposes the plan because "at a time of massive wealth and income inequality, this bill would cut taxes for billionaires by repealing the estate tax and it would blow a giant hole in the deficit, forcing massive cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare."

House Republicans hope to schedule a vote on the bill before Thanksgiving.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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