Republican senators have joined Democrats in saying the GOP tax overhaul will be a joke.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said Thursday that he and his colleagues had heard the word “joke” more than any other time since the GOP-led Congress began its deliberations.
“I think the people of Pennsylvania will be very disappointed,” Toomeysaid.
“But we’ll take it.
I mean, that’s the American way.”
Toomey said he’s seen plenty of other bills in his career and the GOP is “not doing anything special” in the way it wants to pay for its tax overhaul.
“It’s a joke,” he said.
“I know it’s a funny word, but I’ve never seen anything quite like this before.
And I don’t think anyone is expecting a lot out of this.”
Democrats, meanwhile, blasted the GOP as a “big, fat scam.”
“It is clear the GOP has no interest in passing a budget that works for middle-class families, families struggling to make ends meet, or working families who want to be able to keep their lights on and have access to decent health care,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said in a statement.
“We must make sure that the tax bill passed by the Senate is a great deal for working families across this country, and that includes everyone in the middle class who doesn’t pay taxes.”
The Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank, said the bill would result in an average increase in the national debt of $1,000 for middle class families.
The bill would eliminate a tax break for individuals earning up to $250,000, as well as families earning up, $1 million and $3 million.
The tax cut would not apply to married couples filing jointly, but couples who earn $150,000 or more would be eligible to receive the relief.
Under the bill, people earning more than $250 million would also be able, through a deduction for their state income tax, to claim a deduction on their state taxes.
The plan would also reduce the standard deduction to $12,000 from $24,000.
Individuals making less than $50,000 a year would not be able the deduction.
Republicans say they are taking advantage of tax cuts that are projected to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade.
Republicans have said they are seeking to make the tax code more predictable, lower tax rates for the wealthy and increase the standard deductions.
Democrats have countered that Republicans are using tax breaks that will make the economy more vulnerable to the economic downturn that will occur in the coming years.
They say the tax cuts will not help working families and will hurt middle-income Americans who rely on their taxes to pay the bills.
Republicans also say they will be able use the savings to reduce taxes on the wealthy, which would reduce their overall tax burden by about $1 trillion over a decade.
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Action Center says the GOP plan would increase the national deficit by more than the $1trillion deficit that was projected in the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the bill.
Republicans and Democrats are expected to vote on the bill in the Senate next week, and it’s unclear whether they will have enough support to pass it.