Thus one of the few ways voters can find out how their lawmakers feel about the bill is via snippets of conversations with the press.
Because even with a massive, once-in-a-generation bill that will balloon the deficit by $1.5 trillion, raise taxes on 87 million families, and even attack health care, Republicans are adhering to a policy of opaque secrecy.
On Tuesday, South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford pulled that curtain back a bit by admitting to reporters that, yes, his party has been dishonest throughout the so-called debate.
“Fundamentally, the bill has been mislabeled,” Sanford admitted, adding that from “a truth in advertising standpoint, it would have been a lot simpler if we just acknowledged reality on this bill.”
And that reality is something that’s been pretty clear for a while: “It’s fundamentally a corporate tax reduction and restructuring bill, period.”
Apparently, after the bill passed the Senate by just two votes, Republicans like Sanford — who supported the bill in the House — feel it’s okay to unburden themselves by conceding that not only has the entire process been a sham, but that the GOP has repeatedly and brazenly lied about the contents and aims of the scheme.
In a statement, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office pounced on Sanford’s belated comments:
“Yes, we agree. But these words only ring hollow as Republicans finalize their tax scam that raises taxes on tens of millions of middle class families in order to hand deficit-exploding giveaways to the wealthiest and corporations shipping jobs overseas.”
For the record, voters are already onto the GOP’s charade about the tax scam being good for the middle class, and that padding corporate profits will magically produce higher wages for American workers.
“Major companies including Cisco Systems Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Coca-Cola Co. say they’ll turn over most gains from proposed corporate tax cuts to their shareholders, undercutting President Donald Trump’s promise that his plan will create jobs and boost wages for the middle class,” Bloomberg reported last week.
That’s why voters are already incredibly pessimistic and cynical about the tax proposal.
Traditionally, the idea of tax cuts is nearly universally popular. But according to the latest polling just released by Gallup, only 29 percent of Americans support the GOP tax bill, including just 7 percent of Democrats.
And it gets worse than that for Republicans. In six Congressional districts featuring vulnerable Republicans up for re-election next year, a clear majority of voters recently surveyed oppose the GOP tax bill and think it primarily benefits the wealthy.
The most lopsided results were found in Rep. Barbara Comstock’s Virginia district, where 58 percent of voters say they oppose the tax scheme. Republicans just suffered massive statewide election losses in Virginia, in a clear rebuke of the party’s politics and direction, and the passage of the tax bill won’t do anything to compensate for that.
And lawmakers like Sanford admitting that the GOP hasn’t been honest about the scam is only going to make harder for party leadership to continue with their misinformation campaign.