With the House successfully passing its scheme to give corporations and the mega-wealthy billions in tax breaks at the expense of the middle class, all eyes move to the Senate. Unfortunately, the Senate bill is just as bad, and strips people of health insurance for good measure.
But when Republican senators are faced with criticism, they cannot cope with it — as Senate Finance Committee chair Orrin Hatch demonstrated when Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown grilled him.
Brown criticized Hatch for dishonestly promising middle-class benefits in the tax bill and attacking Democrats for not supporting those benefits — while simultaneously rejecting Sen. Ron Wyden’s amendment that would require the Congressional Budget Office to confirm the bill helps the middle class before a vote on it:
Tense moment between Sen. Brown and Sen. Hatch after Brown says GOP tax cut is “for the rich.” Hatch responds: “Don’t spew that stuff on me” pic.twitter.com/57zEA03a6b
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 17, 2017
BROWN: [Your attack ads] will of course say, “Senator McCaskill and Senator Casey and Senator Stabenow and Senator Nelson are voting against a $4,000 raise that this tax cut is going to bestow on them.” We know it’s coming. We know you’ll have way more money to promote that than we will have to defend it. But that’s why the Wyden Amendment is so important. And I just think it would be nice, just tonight, before we go home, to acknowledge, well, this tax cut really is not for the middle class, it’s for the rich. And that whole thing about higher wages, well, it’s a good selling point. But we know companies don’t just give away higher wages. They just don’t give away higher wages just because they have more money. Corporations are sitting on a lot of money now, they’re sitting on a lot of profits now, I don’t see wages going up. So just spare us the — spare us the bank shots. Spare us the sarcasm and the satire.
Brown is correct. The permanent tax cuts in the Senate bill fall mostly on large corporations and millionaires, while those that save the middle class money are temporary and go away, leaving households making $75,000 or less with higher taxes by 2027.
Hatch, however, was not pleased with Brown exposing his lies, and started screaming at him in anger.
“I come from poor people, and I’ve been here working my whole stinking career,” said Hatch. “I think you oughta quit it.”
He then repeatedly banged his gavel and shouted “I’ve honored you by allowing you to spout off here … I come from the lower middle class originally. We didn’t have anything. So don’t you spew that stuff on me! I get a little tired of that crap!”
Added Hatch, “If we work together we could pull this county out of every mess it’s in!” conveniently forgetting that his party just blocked every Democratic amendment to the bill and rammed it through committee in the dead of night on a party-line vote.
Brown then asked Hatch if he cared to start “working together” by passing a bill to reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program — a bipartisan program Hatch himself helped create, which is now in peril because Republicans missed the deadline to fund it in September. “Let’s start with CHIP,” he said.
“I’m not starting with CHIP,” Hatch shot back. “I did it, I’ve done it for years — I’ve got more bills passed than everybody on this committee put together!”
Hatch lost his temper because Brown exposed the duplicity and double standards Republicans are using to try to further enrich their donors at the expense of everyone else. Any facade of the Republicans working to benefit the majority of Americans is crumbling — and with it, those Republicans’ ability to control the conversation.