You can’t make this up, except when it pertains to politicians.
Even though Democrats in the U.S. Senate have voted for nearly every major bill during our nation’s recording amount of spending under President Joe Biden, those who appear vulnerable to losing their seats in the upcoming 2022 elections are hypocritically deciding to run on the idea of cutting taxes.
Yes, the party that never met a tax increase it didn’t like, now wants voters to believe they’re interested in cutting taxes.
Vulnerable Senate Democrats are attempting a bold strategy: Running for reelection as the real tax-cutters in Congress, even if it pits them against some of their caucus colleagues.
A quartet of the chamber’s most endangered Democrats are backing a proposal to suspend the federal gas tax through the end of the year and urging their party to embrace it as a signature economic pitch ahead of the midterms. And more ideas are on the way to ease voters’ pocketbooks.
Tax holidays that slash government revenue aren’t universally popular in the party right now. But Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) is still pressing a proposal to suspend the state sales tax on essential goods, and other Democrats are mulling a new push to bring down drug prices, particularly insulin. The topic dominated Senate Democrats’ Tuesday lunch, suggesting a larger political move is underfoot as the caucus dodges harder GOP hits on rising inflation.
It’s no coincidence that the Democrats most involved in the new push hail from the toughest battlegrounds: Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, and Warnock. But as inflation grips the economy and prices continue rising, those senators say they are merely responding to their constituents’ concerns.
“What you see coming from me is an effort to lower peoples’ costs, whether that’s through the gas tax relief bill or other bills that I’m looking at introducing,” Warnock said in an interview. Republicans “are focused on politics, and I’m focused on the people I’m here to represent … people are struggling and they are focused on how they pay for their groceries.”
In addition to the four previously mentioned, other Democratic Senators are also considering changing their messaging to try to get re-elected.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who’s won three difficult races in a red state, said suspending the gas tax “could help working families move forward.” Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the top tax writer in the Senate, said the gas tax is too regressive and that suspending state taxes on some goods could be “very attractive” for the Senate to take up. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who also faces a competitive Senate race, said he’s still evaluating the proposals.
Democrats are keenly aware by their polling that voters are concerned about inflation and the out-of-control national debt.
“I’m just hearing that people are being really stretched by the cost of everything. And anything we can do to help lower costs is something I think we should do,” Hassan said. “It’s really important to listen to constituents and help them lower costs, and I think the cost issues are real.”
Some bid spends Democrats in leadership are not in support of a yearlong gas tax holiday as they need the tax revenue to pay for part of their out-control spending.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who helped write that infrastructure law, said he’s “always reluctant” to take away a dedicated funding source for roads and bridges.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said, “While the oil and gas industry are extracting massive windfall profits, to support that without having them have significant responsibility would be a real mistake,”
“It’s blatantly transparent. And obviously very politically motivated. This isn’t something they’d be rolling out unless they were looking at polling that suggests they are taking on a lot of water as a result of a huge spike in gas prices,” said Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.).
After canceling pipelines, banning drilling on federal lands, and declaring war on energy companies, Democrats suddenly want to repeal the gas tax.
Why? Because an election is coming. pic.twitter.com/cIWHt7IUsi
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) February 15, 2022
He said “maybe” it’s good politics for Democrats but predicted voters would “see-through” Democrats’ tactics. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said of Democrats: “These are the same people last year that we’re trying to raise taxes and now because they’re in tight races they want to cut them.”
This story syndicated with permission from Eric Thompson, Author at Trending Politics