The big tax cuts Republicans passed last year, the ones they were going to run on this year, have proven a total flop. The vast majority of people saw very little in it for them and for a handful of Republicans in wealthy suburban areas, that new law has become a huge liability. One provision in particular—the $10,000 cap on the federal deduction for state and local taxes (which the House voted to make permanent last month)—has a lot of voters hopping mad, and a lot of Republicans over a barrel.
Like New Jersey Republican Jay Webber, running to replace retiring GOP Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen in the 11th Congressional District. He doesn’t know what to say about this one without completely breaking with the Republicans, since he is one, and answering his would-be constituents. So he says he is embracing the tax cuts. “I’m running on it, and I think our party should be a party of pro-growth ideas, confidence and optimism,” he says. But, and you know there has to be a but, the deduction cap is “a bad part in an otherwise good bill. I think it’s unfair to tax a tax, which is essentially what not allowing you to deduct your state and local taxes is.”
A bad part of a bill that the House just voted to double down on and make permanent, knowing that it would never pass in the Senate. This is solid red-state Republicans throwing their colleagues in purple areas under the bus, with glee and abandon, with leadership’s complete approval. Which just goes to show how bad of a leader Paul Ryan has been—he wouldn’t even try to stop the bleeding in this election by doing this much to try to protect some of these Republicans. He went ahead with the futile vote to make the cuts—and deduction cap—permanent. Punishing the blue states is the name of the game, even if it bites some Republicans in the ass.
You can bet Democrats running for these seats are capitalizing on it. Mikie Sherrill, running against Webber, blasted out the message that “Washington Republicans are seeking to punish New Jersey taxpayers” after the vote. Tom Malinowski, who’s challenging Rep. Leonard Lance in New Jersey, says “Their top priority right now is making the tax reform bill that they passed last year permanent. That’s their priority. None of them are talking about an infrastructure bill.” It’s the message for Democrats running to flip seats in New York and California, as well.
And it’s a message that works.