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Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez On GOP Tax Bill


House Republicans unveiled their long-awaited tax bill yesterday. It includes deep cuts to both individual and corporate tax rates. The plan would also restrict the popular mortgage deduction, cut the corporate tax rate to 20 percent and reduce the seven individual tax brackets to just four. House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady says this bill provides relief for, quote, "real American families."


KEVIN BRADY: And with this bill, we will grow our economy by delivering more jobs, fair taxes and bigger paychecks to Americans of all walks of life.

GREENE: We're hearing this morning from lawmakers in both parties. And I want to turn now to Democratic Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, who represents this state, California. Good morning, Congresswoman.

LINDA SANCHEZ: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So are real American families getting some relief here?

SANCHEZ: In a word, probably not. The Republican tax plan I believe is completely out of touch with the relief that American families really need. And their plan, although they're trying to sell it as middle-class tax relief, actually, there's no guarantee that middle-class families will be better off. And in many cases, their taxes will actually go up.

GREENE: You say there's no guarantee. I mean, the Republican argument is that by cutting taxes, for example, on businesses, that will give businesses more money, I mean, to help grow the economy, to help increase wages so. So this is sort of an open question. I mean, you're using terms like probably not, no guarantee. It's - there are two sides of this debate.

SANCHEZ: Well, there's no doubt that their tax plan appears to provide benefits. But, again, they can't guarantee that what they're expecting will happen or what they're actually, quite frankly, hoping and wishing will happen will actually happen. So they're projecting theses very rosy pictures of growth that are somehow going to pay for these tax cuts when most economists don't believe that we can grow the economy that that that much by cutting taxes for corporations. And this has been an argument that's been used for decades that has never proven to be true.

They believe that businesses are going to suddenly hire more workers and raise their wages, while, in fact, we've seen worker productivity go up for decades. But the benefit of that productivity doesn't go back into higher wages, it goes back into the people at the top who suck out all the profits. And middle-class families are left to continue to struggle.

So they're painting an overly rosy picture about the growth that will be created. There's no proof that that will happen. And, in fact, if you look at what has happened in Kansas, which was almost a similar plan verbatim, Kansas - it was a huge fiasco. They had to close public schools early, and kids only went to school four days a week. They couldn't make the necessary investments in infrastructure and other necessary expenditures. So it's just overly optimistic and not very realistic.

GREENE: OK. And you're saying things like no proof. I mean, there are economists who in parts of the world have seen this sort of strategy help grow some economies. But let me just ask you, I mean, you tweeted just moments ago that this is a billionaires-first tax plan. Republicans made a late change. I mean, they're leaving the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans as it is. Wasn't that an opening, saying, Democrats, we understand the criticism? You know, can we start a debate here and a conversation, we're moving towards you?

SANCHEZ: No. I - it's all smoke and mirrors because the relief that they purport to give to middle-class families they take away in other ways by reducing certain deductions that many working-class families rely on. And they had said specifically that the wealthy would not benefit from this. Well, when you repeal the estate tax, I don't know how many average American families have over $11 million dollars of an estate, but that's a huge benefit to the wealthiest. And so the bulk of the relief in this tax bill doesn't go where it's needed. It goes to the people precisely who need it the least, which are millionaires and billionaires. And there's no getting around that.

GREENE: That is one view of the Republican tax plan from Democratic Congresswoman Linda Sanchez of California. Congresswoman, thanks a lot for the time. We appreciate it.

SANCHEZ: My pleasure. Thank you for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.