We should have traveled this road together

Yesterday, Republicans in Congress approved, then celebrated, a $1.5 trillion partisan tax reform bill that begins repealing the Affordable Care Act and makes permanent, trillion-dollar corporate tax cuts under the guise of middle class tax relief. In reality, this bill will just ensure that wealthy shareholders and executives take an even bigger cut of corporate profits. Within ten years, the top one percent of earners in our country will receive 83 percent of this bill’s tax benefits.

After seeing a modest tax cut, Americans with middle to lower incomes will actually start to see their taxes rise two or three years from now. By 2027, Americans earning less than $75,000 will pay higher taxes than they do now. To add insult to injury, according to non-partisan analyses, this bill will cause health care premiums to skyrocket and 13 million people to lose their health insurance over the next decade. Short-term gain, long-term pain.

For years, I’ve called on my colleagues to enact reforms to our tax system that are fair, encourage economic growth and job creation, simplify the tax code and do it all in a way that’s fiscally responsible. From doubling the standard deduction for families, to increasing the child tax credit and making it refundable, to making common sense changes to our tax code that ensure businesses large and small can compete and win in today’s global economy—done right, a number of things in this bill could’ve provided the basis for a historic, bipartisan agreement on tax reform legislation.

But we never really had a fair chance.

From the start, my Republican colleagues were in a desperate race to get their own tax reform across the finish line and declare victory, at any cost. On the bicameral conference committee for this proposal, Republicans didn’t even allow Democrats to offer amendments. It was a farce. In their haste, my Republican colleagues robbed Delawareans and all Americans of the substantive and exhaustive debate in Congress they deserve on a bill that will shake up our entire economy and cripple our nation’s spending power for decades to come. They also snuck in a partisan, dangerous provision that begins to repeal the Affordable Care Act without any plans to protect the 13 million Americans who will lose health insurance because of it. In the years to come, this bill will blow up our deficits, squeeze our budgets and raise taxes on millions of Americans. It won’t be long before Delawareans and Americans across the country see that this bill is grossly unfair.

It didn’t have to be this way. If we had traveled this road together and Republicans had allowed Democrats to come to the table, we could’ve worked together to enact bipartisan tax reform. Sadly, it’s a missed opportunity.