Like many of you, I believe we need to reform our tax code and cut taxes for the middle class. From the beginning of this year’s tax reform effort, I’ve been willing to partner with Republicans, Democrats and President Donald Trump and his administration.
When Trump traveled to Indiana to unveil his tax reform priorities, I joined him on Air Force One. I wanted him to know that I was listening to his priorities, and I agreed with his stated goals of supporting the middle class and keeping jobs in America.
I also wanted Hoosiers to know I was committed to working with the president to reform our tax code in a way that helped Hoosier families and businesses.
After that trip, and in every meeting I had with the administration — two at the White House, at Vice President Mike Pence’s speech in Anderson and in multiple discussions with top administration officials — I left optimistic that we could work together to reform our tax code to achieve our agreed upon goals.
Despite this common ground, the bill produced by Sen. Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan was the complete opposite of what the president and I had discussed.
Instead of providing a tax cut that benefits the middle class, independent, nonpartisan analyses show this bill will cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans while raising taxes on a majority of families making less than $75,000 in coming years.
Instead of closing tax loopholes like the shameful one that allows Wall Street hedge fund managers to pay a lower rate than a Hoosier firefighter, a Hoosier teacher, a Hoosier police officer or a Hoosier steelworker, this bill preserves these giveaways.
And instead of protecting American jobs by adopting provisions from my End Outsourcing Act, the bill does nothing to claw back tax breaks and incentives awarded to companies that later decide to outsource American jobs.
It retains loopholes that allow corporations like Rexnord and Carrier to continue deducting the moving expenses for shipping American jobs to other countries. That’s not right.
In Indiana, we know there is no such thing as a free lunch. In the Hoosier state, we work hard, and we expect everyone to pay their fair share. The McConnell/Ryan bill cuts taxes for corporations and the wealthy by asking some middle class families to pay more and it makes health care more expensive for millions of Americans.
According to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, if we account for budget gimmicks, the cost of the bill could reach $2.2 trillion — money that will be borrowed from the Chinese and paid back with interest by our children and grandchildren.
We need tax reform that benefits Hoosiers who go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. These are the folks I run into at church or who stop by my office. They look me in the eye and tell me they’re working hard to make a decent living to pay the bills, raise their families and retire with dignity. They’re not looking for a handout; they simply want a good-paying job and a fair shake.
This tax reform bill was a missed opportunity. I had hoped to work with Trump and my colleagues in the Senate to craft real tax reform that would help keep jobs here in America, focus on middle class tax cuts and make our country stronger for our children and their future. Unfortunately, the McConnell/Ryan bill did not do that, and that is why I could not vote for it.