Rep. Steve Knight ducks responsibility, hopes Senate will fix bad tax bill he supported

Rep. Steve Knight

Rep. Steve Knight abdicated his responsibility to his constituents, and now mistakenly hopes that the Senate can do what he failed to do: pass a tax bill that helps, rather than harms, his district.

After casting one of the decisive ‘yes’ votes on a bill that will raise taxes on his constituents, Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) is taking a “wait and see” approach, hoping that United States Senate will fix the problems he helped create.

“We have to wait and see what the Senate can pass,” Knight recently told The Signal, “and then start looking at the ideas in there that maybe we do like or we don’t like and how we conference those together.”

That’s a far cry from Knight’s earlier statements, where he boldly declared he would stand up for his constituents. As soon as rumors of a bill with higher taxes for Californians — because of reducing the state and local tax deduction — was floated, Knight defiantly announced that fixing this issue was his “number one priority” or else there would be trouble.

That kind of tough talk only works if it is followed by equally impressive action.

But Knight barely made a whimper as the House passed a bill without any of the promised fixes as he provided one of the crucial votes that helped it pass.

The previous bravado from Knight has completely disappeared, replaced with vague “waiting” for the Senate to pass a bill that “maybe” will be better.

This backpedaling and abdication of responsibility has been described as a “lame defense” by national outlets such as HuffPost:

Congressman Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) was already one of the Democrats’ top targets. Trump lost his 25th Congressional District by 7 points, and recent polling shows Knight losing to a generic Democrat 38 percent to 50 percent. His Yes vote on the Republican tax bill – after expressing his reservations about this turkey – made him even more vulnerable. And his lame defense that the bill might be improved in the Senate will surely not play well with his largely middle-class constituents.

The people of Knight’s district didn’t vote for him so that he could pass the buck to the Senate. Residents have an expectation that their member of Congress will fight for them, and fight for their interests.

Now that Knight has voted for a bill that broke his pledge, he is asking his California constituents to put their faith in Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader.

But Knight’s faith in the Senate is just as bad of a decision as voting for a bad bill in the House.

The Senate version of the tax bill would be worse for his constituents when it comes to the state and local tax deductions. Whereas the Knight-supported House bill raises taxes, thus harming constituents, the Senate bill would do even more harm, via the Washington Post:

 The Senate bill would kill the deduction outright. For owners in high-tax markets such as Washington, Maryland, Virginia, California, New Jersey, New York, the New England states, Illinois and Ohio, the Senate’s total wipeout of the deduction could raise their federal tax bills starting Jan. 1.

Knight is asking his residents to outsource their financial well-being to senators, who have an even worse plan than Knight’s colleagues in the House of Representatives.

And he should have known better when he joined ten other Republicans from California in supporting the House’s tax bill. If all eleven of them had banded together and demanded a better bill for their constituents, the bill would not have passed.

Instead, Knight sold out his constituents to the demands of Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan, and now asks Californians to trust that a man from Kentucky has their best interest at heart.

The residents of Knight’s district deserve a member of Congress who is not afraid to stand up for them. At minimum, they deserve a member who will stand up for their “number one priority.”

Steve Knight has shown once again that he is not that person.